Three-time Olympian Deborah Scott speaks to City of Victoria Mayor and Council to reconsider track and stadium project

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Victoria City Council Meeting – December 10th, 2020 

Good Evening Mayor Helps and Council members. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight on behalf of the Vic High Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project.

My name is, Deb Scott,

I am a long-time physical and health education teacher and coach at St. Margaret’s School for over 30 years.

I am a Victoria resident who was so fortunate to attend Claremont High School. A school that had a dynamic sports program with great facilities that I was able to train and race on. During this time as a student/athlete at Claremont, in my Grade 12 year, I won the BC High School Championship in cross country as well as the 1500 and 3000-metre distances in track and field.
 
And this is where, more importantly, I discovered my passion for running.

A passion that was I was supported in for the next 20 years, through our great sporting community in Victoria.

I won national titles 25 times, I am a three-time Olympian, won medals in the Commonwealth and Pan Am Games, was a finalist in three World track and field championships, had three top-15 placings in the World Cross Country Championships and won the prestigious 5th Avenue New York Mile.

I am speaking tonight, to ask the council to endorse and support the construction of a first-class sports facility at Vic High School, which includes a fully functional 8-lane track and artificial turf, with lights and bleachers, as well as a field house.

The application to alter the site at Vic High, to accommodate a housing development is not a reasonable nor a rational reason to dumb down the project to a non-functional sports facility. Certainly, housing developments are important but it would make more sense for the developers to alter the footprint and design to avoid interfering with the land that has been designated for several years to be developed into an incredible sports facility for the school, clubs, community, SD61, the city and the province.

Current derelict Memorial Stadium with 440-yard cinder track.

It is absolutely essential that the promise is kept and the original plans for the Vic High Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project are reinstated.

I know you have received many letters and perspectives focussed on the value of this Revitalized Stadium and sports facility that will have so many deep and positive spin-offs for so many people in our society including the development of high-level sport in soccer, rugby and track & field. It would be a shared facility at Vic High, with access for staff, students, high-level sports clubs, a venue to host city, provincial and national championship events, as well as serving the community members for health and wellness. A facility for the Fernwood community to be proud of.

I am going to focus on my main point on what I feel is an integral part of the picture here and that is how and why the Vic High Memorial Stadium came to be.

Vic High School is steeped in history and the tradition of honouring those who fought in the first and second world wars. After both wars, memorial tributes were implemented to recognize and respect the students and teachers who fought and lost their lives.

– In 1917, the Vining Street Maples were planted in their honour. In 2011, these trees were replaced and new ones were planted to continue to show respect and dignity to these soldiers.

– In addition, there was a nine-metre banner made, called the Banner of Sacrifice and Remembrance. On this banner, there was a hand-sewn maple leaf representing each and every Vic High teacher and student who lost their lives in WWI.

– In 1951 after WWII, A Memorial Stadium was built for future generations to have a quality athletic facility  – a full-sized, state-of-the-art, cinder track, and playing field with bleachers that was built to honour those teachers and students who lost their lives fighting in WWII.

**Just like the Maple Trees of Vining Street, needed to be replaced – to carry on the memory, respect and tradition of honouring those who gave their lives for their country in WWI, we have that same responsibility to replace the Memorial Stadium with a first-class facility just like the one they built in 1951. 

**I believe, the intention and significance, at that time, in building a high-quality sports facility — the Vic High Memorial Stadium — needs to be upheld and the original plan of a first-class sports facility needs to be reinstated.

**This is not just Vic Highs’ history, that needs to be respected and honoured it is the general public’s history – as well.**

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