Letters to the Editor

Track and field facility missing

Dear Editor:

At the most recent School District 67 meeting, School Trustees responded to another letter from the Summerland Heritage Advisory Commission.

There has been a long on-going dispute about the demolition of MacDonald School: one of Summerland’s listed heritage buildings.

According to the information given to the Heritage Commission, demolition of MacDonald School would allow room for a new track and field facility for our students.

Because the engineered drawings clearly indicated a new track and field facility, the commission had no objection with the demolition.

Periodically over the years, the heritage commission has reminded the school board of this issue.

At this most recent school board meeting, the position now taken by the School Board was there was “no documentation to support the claim that a track and field facility was promised.”

Well, here is just some of the documentation.

o February 1997: The School District hired Meiklejohn Bevanda Meiklejohn (MBM) Architects Limited to provide conceptual drawings of the Middle School site

o March 5, 1997: The School District chose Option 8 to present to Summerland Municipal Council.

o March 17, 1997: Option 8 was presented to Summerland Municipal Council that included an eight-lane track and field facility.

If the track and field facility was not promised by the School District, why was there a track and field facility clearly shown in the centre of the school district’s preferred plans?

o March 17, 1997: Letter from Mayor Don Cameron to School District 67 stating “ the Council commits to working with the School District in a timely and professional manner to reconfigure the existing school property by realigning Jubilee Road as illustrated on the conceptual drawing prepared by MBM Architects Ltd., dated March 5, 1997

Because of the School District design, Summerland lost a large section of downtown green-space, lost the existing track and field facility on Dunham Field, lost a designated heritage building MacDonald School, paid for a costly re-alignment of Jubilee Road, paid the School District $60,000 for land acquisitions, created an unsafe roadway that now bisects school fields (considered unsafe by our Transportation Master Plan 2007) and transports our students to Penticton to use their track and field facility when busing is available.

For argument sake, suppose the School Board is right and the track and field facility was never part of the design of the new roadway.

Usually downtown roads are straight for safety reasons.

Why then was Jubilee Road shaped with an S-shaped curve? Impaired paving company employees? Tectonic plate movements? Aliens?  Nope, Jubilee Road was shaped that way to accommodate a planned, curved track and field facility.

The school district provided drawings which clearly show a track. Approvals were made based on their drawings. The school district should live up to agreements. Too costly? Nonsense! This proposal was made by staff. Staff snubbed the elected officials recommendations.

David E. Gregory, chair

Heritage Advisory Commission

Summerland

 

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