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Polls to open on track plan

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Bourkevale area residents go to the polls this weekend to vote on whether or not they support the St. James-Assiniboia School Division (SJSD)  building a 400-metre track at St. James Collegiate.

About 30 people packed into the school’s band room Tues., Feb. 5 to take in the division’s plan, which would require about 35 metres of land from the Bourkevale Community Centre to accommodate the track.

"If I didn’t come, I probably would have opposed the plan," said Pat Campbell, who lives in the neighbouring Colorado Estates retirement community.

Campbell said she had doubts about the plan, including concerns about noise and drainage problems, as her condo will overlook the track.

Campbell said she was swayed by an impassioned plea from students at the end of the public meeting, saying a track would help attract new student athletes to the school, and offer more recreational opportunities to current students and the surrounding community.

"When you listen to these kids, it’s a big selling point," said Campbell, who has lived in St. James for 60 years.

"I think it’s good for them and good for the schools."

Campbell, along with other residents who live in the club’s catchment area, will head to the polls Thurs., Feb 14 and Sun., Feb. 17 to vote on the track.

If approved, Bourkevale would enter into a land use agreement with the school division to use the land. The track will include a full size soccer field, along with two mini-soccer fields, a sand volleyball court and a long jump/triple jump pitch. The field would be crowned, and work would be done to address numerous drainage issues affecting the current field behind the school, division officials say.

The division would also build a 3/4-sized soccer field for Bourkevale directly south of the track.

The division has capped the cost of the track and additional soccer field at $570,000, SJSD trustee and finance chair Scott Johnston said.

If Bourkevale votes against the plan, it’s unlikely the division would consider building a smaller track, SJSD superintendent Ron Weston said.

The track would follow on recent upgrades to tracks at John Taylor, Sturgeon Heights and Westwood collegiate. St. James is the only high school in the division without a track.

Voting will be held Thurs., Feb. 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Sun., Feb. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bourkevale CC. Voters must be 18 and reside in Bourkevale’s catchment area.

For more info, email Bourkevale@gmail.com or visit www.sjsd.net.

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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