April 17, 2023
- Harty hit-and-run investigation
- Qualicum Beach’s deteriorating school fields
- Roundabout mural
- Requesting wider coverage of local stories
Harty hit-and-run investigation, still waiting for answers
We are coming up to the second anniversary of the hit-and-run and death of Colm Harty, a good friend to so many and an active member of our community. We were heartbroken when Colm died on August 30th, 2021 from his injuries sustained two days earlier in Qualicum Beach.
As you have reported, his family still waits for answers as to why no charges have been laid by the Crown for this criminal offence, despite the fact that they were recommended by the RCMP, and despite the fact that the driver was involved in another traffic death and injury in 2019.
In addition, Freedom of Information requests from Island Health by his family for Colm’s medical records from BC Ambulance Service and Royal Jubilee have not been forthcoming.
Colm’s family, his friends, and members of the community deserve better. Colm deserves better! Where is the transparency and accountability?
We need to know that our justice system works for its citizens.
Rest in Peace dear Colm.
Karen Taylor, Qualicum Beach
Qualicum Beach’s deteriorating school fields
QB resident and parent Ray Woroniak previously wrote about the untapped opportunity for the Town and School District to work together to improve deteriorating school fields, particularly at Kwalikum Secondary School. Recently, Mr. Woroniak wrote to the Town asking for Council’s leadership to specifically help remedy the sorry state of track and field facilities for our Town youth. The letter has been edited for length – Ed.
Dear Mayor and Council,
A public announcement came out in Qualicum Beach for our community’s students to train for track and field in Parksville. It’s been explained to me that Qualicum Beach high school students may not train at their own school because there are no amenities provided for them for long jump, high jump, discus, shot put, hurdles, etc. There is no bus to commute students to Parksville’s High School. Only those students with their own transportation may participate.
Could you please consider funding amenities at our high school so equal opportunities exist for Qualicum Beach students, [the same] as students in Parksville and the rest of Vancouver Island? To the best of my knowledge Qualicum Beach is the only high school on Vancouver Island without track and field amenities offered.
Qualicum Beach Council committed funding to upgrade the track amenities at the Parkville high school. Could you also please provide funding for Qualicum Beach students to have the basics for a school track and field experience? So they can train and compete against themselves at their own school. At the very least, funding for a bus to drive them to Parksville to use the track facilities there.
Upgrading KSS to an eight-lane track would allow our community to host events and bring visitors to our Town. The [proposed] upgraded Parksville high school track will only be a six lane “training track”. It will not meet the eight-lane requirement for hosting competitive track events. Our Oceanside community should have at least one eight lane track somewhere to host events. The District 69 Track and Field Facility Feasibility Study stated: “Successful tracks are municipally owned — School District tracks are not well maintained.” It showed rental income is from major events and rental of the field can maintain the cost of having track and field amenities. An eight-lane track is needed to host these events and help the investment pay for itself.
The District 69 Track and Field Facility Feasibility Study showed our high school location at KSS could accommodate an eight-lane track and field with some slope stabilization on both its sides. Having a school with these types of amenities may help attract young families and workers to live in our community.
The Town of Qualicum Beach and [School District] SD 69 have worked out partnerships and union agreements before with the community garden at the Qualicum Commons as an example.
Not too long ago KSS had boys and girls soccer teams, field hockey and rugby. School sports are affordable for all families and don’t require parent support driving children — therefore equally accessible to all youth. Improving our schools gives reason for families to move here. Having highly desired schools might be the simplest way for Qualicum Beach to draw young families to move here.
I consider myself a fairly informed parent and until a few months ago I believed there were track and field amenities for students at KSS. From what I can tell the majority of people seem to think KSS has track and field amenities for students. I feel this false perception is responsible for people not taking action to provide for our youth.
The community group fundraising for the Parksville track upgrade says there are track and field amenities at KSS on their website. [This is a] quote from the Oceanside Community Track website — “There are two track and field facilities in the Oceanside area. These track and field facilities are located at the two secondary schools, Ballenas and Kwalikum.”
I feel statements like these may be creating a false perception in our community helping reassure everything is ok when it is not. The 2009 District 69 Track and Field Facility Feasibility Study states “The track at Kwalikum Secondary School has definitely passed the end of its lifespan, is no longer used, and is gradually returning to a natural grass condition. It is hard to tell whether it was ever a full 6 or 8 lane track.”
That assessment was 14 years ago, with no improvements since. I’m not sure why the school district published [that] there are track and field facilities at KSS in their 2021 report Track of Dreams used to raise funds for the new track in Parksville when they should have clearly known there were not from their 2009 report, and from what was actually happening at the school.
I reached out to the Oceanside Community Track Society a couple weeks ago asking them to correct their website. They agreed to correct their website but it hasn’t been corrected at the time of this letter.
We need our leaders and the general public to openly admit and communicate to each other — there are no track and field amenities for high school students in Qualicum Beach. There once was, but there is not now. I’m not sure what has changed that [some of our community leaders think] Qualicum Beach students don’t need track and field amenities as much now as in the past, or that Parksville students need upgraded amenities before Qualicum Beach students have any amenities at all.
Ray Woroniak, Qualicum Beach
Roundabout mural “suggestion” a hazard
Dear Mayor and Council,
I wish to register my opinion on the idea of a painted mural to line the inside face of the concrete wall at the Memorial Ave Roundabout.
I recommend that you proceed with caution before following your impulse to allow for some ‘local art’ in this location.
I believe it would be unwise and a poor choice to endorse this concept. Consider:
– There was a great deal of emphasis placed on the ‘safety benefits’ of a roundabout during early planning stages.
– Despite most residents and many users increasing familiarity and comfort with roundabouts, there are still those drivers who find them somewhat challenging and confusing.
There are good reasons why one doesn’t find public art, advertisements, signage and so forth placed at the roadside at this level and I imagine that the Highways Safety Branch would have an opinion on this.
– No-one can deny the beauty of the sea and shoreline vistas and distant mountain views that backdrop the roundabout. I suggest that a painted visual scene in the ‘near view’ visual field will prove a potentially dangerous visual distraction for some drivers. And I for one would find any kind of painted scene a ‘visual affront’ to the natural, ever-changing, scenic beauty that mother nature bestows on us – free of charge, 365 days a year, 24/7!
– Any fool will tell you that such ‘low hanging fruit’ will be at great risk, and ultimately fall prey to another form of civic artistry – that of vandalism.
Finally, and very simply, I suggest that this is a situation when the adage “less is more” is aptly applied.
Bruce Fleming-Smith, B.A./B.Arch. MRAIC LEED AP
Qualicum Beach, B.C.
Requesting wider coverage of news stories
A reader recently submitted a letter of appreciation to us, along with a request we are hearing often. We provide a brief response at the end. — Editor
Thank you for providing an alternative. I live in San Pareil [in RDN Area G] and envy the residents in Qualicum as the PQB News seems terrified of upsetting politicians and advertisers.
Have you ever considered covering Qualicum Beach, Parksville, and surrounding areas?
The RDN Areas F and G have a large population and many looking for independent news and opinion.
I realize this would be extra territory but these areas are so interconnected it seems a natural.
Hope you consider a wider net. Thanks for your integrity.
While we are intentionally hyper-local and therefore focus on serving the public’s interests in Qualicum Beach, we do agree with Roy’s comment on interconnectivity, especially across District 69, and particularly related to the services and decisions of the Administration staff and Boards of both School District 69 as well as the Regional District of Nanaimo.
We encourage letters, story tips and suggestions relating to any topic relevant to the District, even if the connection with civic affairs in Qualicum Beach is only tangential. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. — Editor