Higher-quality outdoor track eyed for Hillside Stadium

City of Kamloops Tournament Capital supervisor Sean Smith said the track and throws area surfaces are in need of replacement. A report to city council shows they are 14 years old and Smith noted significant use and wear and tear.

The city is hoping to upgrade its outdoor track and throws areas at Hillside Stadium, with a higher-grade Olympic-quality surface product.

City of Kamloops Tournament Capital supervisor Sean Smith said the track and throws area surfaces are in need of replacement. A report to city council shows they are 14 years old and Smith noted significant use and wear and tear.

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The current surface is made of polyurethane — a rubber, liquid, pour-and-play substance — and staff are proposing to upgrade with replacement to what is called a Mondotrack surface. Smith explained that it rolls out like carpet and is technologically and scientifically superior to polyurethane.

He said athletes will travel specifically for this type of track, which is used in the Olympics, noting it improves performance, providing athletes with faster times.

“It’s just an overall better product and gives local athletes a taste of what Olympic-style venues are like,” Smith said.

The report to council notes local Olympians Dylan Armstrong and Gary Reed touting benefits of the product.

“While competing for the Canadian Olympic Team, I consistently travelled exclusively to competitions offering Mondotracks, so I could continue to compete at the highest level,” Reed said in his testimonial to the city, calling it the “ultimate running track.”

Added Armstrong: “If the City of Kamloops approves the Mondotrack surface, we will be the only facility in Canada to have both indoor and outdoor Mondotracks.”

City of Kamloops parks manager Jeff Putnam said the Tournament Capital Centre fieldhouse and indoor track has the Mondotrack product.

The city said it could attract more events with the outdoor upgrades. One example referenced by Smith includes the 2023-2024 Legion National Youth Track and Field Championship, for athletes ages 18 and younger. He said Kamloops currently has a bid in for that event.

Cost for replacement of the track and throws area surfaces is $2.18 million, including $1.75 million for removal of the old surfaces and installation of the new surfaces, $50,000 for engineering and project administration, $80,000 for track maintenance equipment and $300,000 for contingency.

Smith said if the city were to replace the track with the same polyurethane surface currently used, it would cost about half as much. City staff have submitted a grant application to Athletics Canada, requesting $900,000.

Council is being asked on Tuesday (Feb. 9) to approve spending the money for the upgrades, using gambling and community works funds, and reducing the community works portion of the funding should the grant funding be approved.

Smith is not sure when the city will hear back about that grant application.

Smith said if council approves the plans, staff would move forward with sourcing the product. The project timeline would be based on the city’s ability to obtain the product, either this year or in 2022.

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