VANCOUVER - Vancouver Technical Secondary School will be home to the city's first regulation-size track and field facility, the Vancouver Park Board announced Tuesday.
The development project can proceed because the park board unanimously approved the city's new track and field strategy at its meeting on Monday.
The strategy also calls for upgrades to existing track and field facilities at Templeton Park and Kerrisdale Park (beside Point Grey Secondary).
“The park board recognizes the physical and mental benefits of sport and physical activity among children, youth and adults,” chair Stuart Mackinnon said in a news release, adding the strategy is a "much-needed" roadmap for investment in athletic infrastructure.
A regulation-sized facility has at least eight lanes plus throwing circles and cages and pole vault equipment, explained Chris Winter, technical manager of track and field with BC Athletics. Most of Vancouver's current school and community tracks only have six lanes.
The new regulation track facility will enable Vancouver to host provincial and national championships, he said. Right now, the closest regulation tracks to Vancouver are Swangard Stadium in Burnaby's Central Park and the Rashpal Dhillon Track and Field Oval at the University of British Columbia.
"I think more facilities, hands down, is better," said Winter. "The nice thing about a track is it's accessible to people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. You get that diversity."
Two former track and field Olympians, Diane and Doug Clement, spoke at the park board's Monday meeting about how the new facility could help match the city's other world-class amenities.
Vancouver has a rich history of producing world-class track and field athletes, according to the park board. Barbara Howard became the first black woman to represent Canada in any international competition at the 1938 British Empire Games. Harry Jerome, an Olympic sprinter whose statue can be seen in Stanley Park's Coal Harbour waterfront, competed in three summer Olympics and won bronze in the 1964 games.