Tom Aerts, Oak Bay High principal, and Jan Hemming of the Oak Bay High Alumni Association see first-hand how busy the track behind the school can get. A campaign to resurface the quarter-century-old track needs to gain traction to meet its goal of being ready for this summer’s Canadian Francophone Games. (Black Press Media file photo)

Tom Aerts, Oak Bay High principal, and Jan Hemming of the Oak Bay High Alumni Association see first-hand how busy the track behind the school can get. A campaign to resurface the quarter-century-old track needs to gain traction to meet its goal of being ready for this summer’s Canadian Francophone Games. (Black Press Media file photo)

Rotary stacks up bottles to help fund track revamp at Oak Bay High

Campaign is still shy $200,000 to resurface Jack Wallace Memorial Track

The Oak Bay Rotary Club knows dimes can add up and is piling them up as part of its effort to raise funds for a running track revamp behind Oak Bay High.

The campaign to resurface the Jack Wallace Memorial Track kicked back into high gear in late 2021, in hopes of having it ready to host track and field events for the Canadian Francophone Games that had been slated for this spring.

The goal pre-coronavirus pandemic was to have it resurfaced in time for the Canadian Francophone Games. Greater Victoria won the right to host the 2021 Games, which includes French-speaking students from across Canada, but those plans were cancelled due to COVID-19 and rescheduled for July 2022. The Games were cancelled in December 2021, with the next scheduled event set for 2025.

The Wallace Memorial track is legacy infrastructure from the 1994 Commonwealth Games and while well maintained, is in need of an upgrade.

RELATED: Financial hurdle moves in bid to resurface Oak Bay high track

The campaign started in 2018 targeted $240,000 for the project. As with most things, three years later the upgrade estimate is higher – $376,000.

The fundraiser is still short $200,000, said Jan Hemming of the Oak Bay High Alumni Association spearheading the campaign.

The size of the project means a lot of partners are involved, including the alumni group, Oak Bay High and the Greater Victoria School District, Oak Bay Rotary Club and its foundation, Oak Bay Kiwanis and private donors. Rotary hosted a bottle drive Jan. 15 that garnered just over $700. Organizers hope to hit higher totals with drives Feb. 5, March 5 and April 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the rear parking lot of Oak Bay High off Cranmore Road.

Track donations beyond $20 are eligible for a taxable receipt. Donate online at canadahelps.org/en/charities/oak-bay-rotary-foundation.

The Oak Bay High School Alumni Association is also matching donations up to $15,000.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the cancellation of the Francophone Games.

c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca


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