North Delta Secondary teacher Gary Sandhu stands on the track outside the school. On rainy days like this one, he says the track is unusable because of poor drainage. (Grace Kennedy photo) North Delta Secondary teacher Gary Sandhu stands on the track outside the school. On rainy days like this one, he says the track is unusable because of poor drainage. (Grace Kennedy photo)

LETTER: Track upgrade is a matter of political will

North Delta teacher and coach Gary Sandhu takes issue with Mayor Jackson’s letter re: track upgrades

RE: LETTER: Tracks upgrade up to Delta School District

It is difficult to accept that the mayor of Delta, Lois Jackson, responded to the North Delta track issue as not the “prerogative” or in the “legislated authority jurisdiction” to help upgrade the dangerous, dilapidated and pathetic recreational track facility which is the North Delta track.

The “exhaustive discussions” about the issue during council meetings, and a large number of personal letters and emails by North Delta citizens to the mayor expressing their concerns regarding the poor state of the current North Delta track, are an annoying problem for Mayor Jackson. The truth is, this issue won’t go away because upgrading this facility for North Delta residents is about political will and a desire to take leadership on a desperate need in the community.

It is evident that this issue is a very important issue for the hardworking people of North Delta. In fact, there have been upwards of six articles in the North Delta Reporter and Delta Optimist regarding this issue. The North Delta track is constantly coming up and being talked about in the community and the citizens are demanding action.

RELATED: Delta school tracks need upgrade, says teacher

The local community and students deserve to not have to leave their own city and travel to neighbouring municipalities in order to access quality community facilities such as Bear Creek [Park] in Surrey or Minoru Park in Richmond. North Delta citizens deserve and have a right to enjoy local facilities to get some exercise, run with their kids, train as athletes, or just to do some recreational activities.

North Delta residents are not getting that opportunity due to a lack of political will or empathy to help the people who have begged the City over the last three years to please, please help put up funds to upgrade the track and field in North Delta. Some of those people include: Delta running and walking clubs; high school track clubs; Cory Philpot (former BC Lion) and BC High School Football; Tim Steilow, NDSS/Burnsview/Sands coach; Seaquam track and field coaches; SDSS and Delta [Secondary] coaches and athletes; and, most importantly, the thousands of local residents and students who use the track annually.

The City of Delta’s tax base wants an upgraded facility and a solution to this would be to establish a three-way partnership with the province, the Delta School District, and the City of Delta. We should invest in facilities that encourage our citizens to lead healthy lives, and when there is an opportunity to do so with the assistance of the province and school district, why is the City not taking advantage of that?

The City of Delta has the power to make this happen but I, along with other concerned Delta citizens, are unsure why the City doesn’t support the upgrade. It’s unfortunate for North Delta, and I’m displeased as a Delta resident. The fact is that the City of Delta is the only city without a proper/quality track and field facility in the Lower Mainland.

I hope that Mayor Jackson finds the political will to help the people of North Delta get the long awaited track and field facility, and simply upgrade the current rundown one — which was last upgraded over 30 years ago. Let’s see exemplary city leadership on this issue, and set a positive example that investing in facilities that encourage citizens to lead healthy lifestyles is an important goal and priority for the City of Delta.

Gary Sandhu

North Delta resident, teacher and coach

SEE ALSO: LETTER: Track upgrades a four-way conversation

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