Saskatoon’s only outdoor running track could be on its last legs

Griffiths Stadium is showing its age, and local track enthusiasts are vocalizing a need to fix or replace it, rather than close it.

It’s where David Blackburn runs on his lunch hour, where he ran in elementary school and where his kids now run.

“It’s something that is special for those kids. They come and run their city championships at the track, rather than in the back grass of the field or whatever,” Blackburn said.

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    But the track at the University of Saskatchewan‘s Griffiths Stadium is worn out. Every year, the school pays $20,000 to $30,000 to patch holes.

    “It won’t be long until they’ll have to start repairing it like that,” said track and field enthusiast Dennis Beerling.

    Beerling, a Saskatchewan sports Hall of Famer, fears future renovations at Griffiths Stadium could eliminate the track. He says a new one would cost $1.5 million.

    “We’re the largest city in the province. We have only one track and we won’t have any soon,” Beerling said.

    He spoke to a city committee Monday, urging them to consider a new outdoor, all-weather track and field facility. Options will be laid out in a future report to council.

    “We have to be looking at what’s possible between the city, the university and with user groups to ensure that we still have an outdoor track facility in Saskatoon,” said Ward 10 Coun. Zach Jeffries.

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    But the university says there are no final decisions about the future of the Griffiths Stadium track. It will remain open in 2016 and 2017.

    “Going forward, the university is committed to being part of the long-term solution of finding a track for the City of Saskatoon, and we’ll work with our community groups and city officials to make that happen,” said Roger Moskaluke, University of Saskatchewan College of Kinesiology facility manager.

    In hopes of giving athletes and their families a place to compete.

    “I think, for the city, this is an important place, and again, we’d be sad to see it go,” Blackburn said.

    The Saskatoon Field House has an indoor track, but some events like javelin and discus are strictly for the outdoors. Certain high-level meets can only happen on outdoor tracks.

Vernon charity looking for funds as it breaks ground on new facility

A North Okanagan charity that helps children with special needs has broken ground on a new facility. However, NONA Child Development Centre in Vernon still needs to raise a major portion of the money to pay for the project.

The new three story building will replace a converted bungalow that is currently used to provide services for kids with autism.

NONA’s executive director says the charity has outgrown that facility.

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“Over the last five years the increase in children being diagnosed has sky-rocketed and we want to be able to provide more service. This new building will be three stories and it will provide us with much more space to be able to do that,” said Helen Armstrong, NONA’s executive director.

The facility is expected to cost $1.6 million and the charity is aiming to pay for it mainly through donations.

So far they’ve collected just over a third of the money needed to fund the project.

Armstrong says they will start with construction before fundraising is done because the current building does not meet their needs.

“We need to move our kids and if we don’t start [construction] they will still be there in a year or two. We are hoping that by seeing this construction begin and seeing all the people who have supported us that other people will jump in.”

The sale of the existing building is also expected to raise several hundred thousand dollars for the new build.

The new facility is expected to have ten therapy rooms.

“Which is more than double what we currently have,” said Armstrong.

“In this new facility there is a large learning kitchen which I think will probably be the heart of the building. It is where kids will come to learn life skills and also to socialize, break bread, have a chat and learn how to provide the things that they need in their life going forward.”

Deadline looms for Kelowna’s Fintry Queen

Andy Schwab boards his beloved Fintry Queen for what could be for the last time because he’s running out of time.

His ship has been sitting idle in Kelowna’s Sutherland Bay for nearly four years.

Since then, the unpaid moorage bills owed to the City of Kelowna have been piling up and he’s worn out his welcome.

That means the wheels could stop turning for Schwab in a matter of days. The court-ordered deadline to move the ship was supposed to be today. The new deadline is August 1 at the latest.

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“If the ship does not move by the end of July, then the city will padlock it and I will be out and I don’t know what its future will be at that point,” said Schwab.

With a court ordered deadline hanging over his head, Schwab is quickly running out of options. One of them was to move the ship near the Bennett bridge —; just off Westbank First Nations land. Schwab says the band has made it clear the Fintry is not welcome off its shores.

“Unless we have the permission of the upland owner we’re essentially not allowed to stay anywhere. Technically speaking because this is a ship and this is a federal navigable waterway you can anchor anywhere for two weeks. But after two weeks you overstay your welcome and then the ministry of natural resources can ask you to move,” said Schwab.

Schwab says he’s welcome in Penticton but he would have to foot the bill for the dock. He says maybe this 11th hour crisis will spur a last minute miracle.

“I’m still optimistic in the next week or so, something is going to happen. Someone will come forward – a small group will come together with $300,000, we can raise $300,000 through the bank —; build a dock in Penticton and we’d be running again by next summer,” said Schwab.

And while some share Schwab’s enthusiasm to save the Fintry, the widespread support is not there. Last week, he launched a public campaign to raise $100,000 by selling $10 tickets. He needed to sell 10,000 but only sold 500 leaving him $95,000 short of his goal.

It will be difficult for IOC to ignore call to ban Russia from Rio: Pound

The founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency said the International Olympic Committee will have a tough time ignoring a recommendation to ban Russia from next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Dick Pound, WADA’s president from 1999 to 2007, told Global News he wasn’t surprised by the findings of a 97-page report released Monday, that detailed a Russian government doping cover-up scheme at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

WATCH: IOC to rule on banning Russia from Rio Games

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What surprised him was the sheer volume of information Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren was able to uncover in his investigation.

READ MORE: How Russia pulled off state-sponsored cheating at the Olympics

“What they found was more than enough to establish the points,” Pound said in an interview from Montreal. And the results of that thorough investigation of hundreds of thousands of documents, he said, led WADA to come up with “unequivocal” recommendation that Russia should not be allowed to participate in Rio.

While McLaren’s report doesn’t make any penalty recommendations, WADA, which commissioned the commissioned the investigation, said the findings warrant a ban.

“It’s could be pretty hard for the IOC to say, ‘Well, even though this comes from this particular group of stakeholders (that makes up WADA), we’re not going to follow it.”

McLaren’s report found at least 312 instances of drug test results being falsified between 2011 and 2015. The majority of those cases occurred in track and field and wrestling, but involved a total of 28 sports Olympic sports — from snowboarding to table tennis.

READ MORE: Who is Richard McLaren, author of the Russia doping report?

The IOC has promised the “toughest sanctions available” but hasn’t yet detailed how it would respond to the McLaren report or whether it would act on WADA’s recommendation to ban Russia.

Pound said prohibiting Russia from taking part in the Rio games wouldn’t hurt the competition, noting the absence of Russian athletes during the Eastern Bloc boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

If anything, he said, it would be a benefit to the sports and the athletes.

“Every time you find a cheater or a country that’s cheating, you’re helping the athletes that are clean,” he explained.

READ MORE: Canadian experts ‘repulsed,’ ‘disheartened’ by report’s findings

But that doesn’t mean all non-Russian athletes are clean Pound said but he believes the IOC taking such a serious action against one of its most prominent members would send a stark warning to smaller countries who may be cheating.

“To think Russia is the only country with a doping problem is pretty naive,” he said. “They’re going to look and say, ‘Whoa. If the IOC is prepared to do this to Russia… I better be careful.”

WATCH: Richard McLaren reveals the findings of his investigation into Russian doping.

WADA lawyer: ‘Dirty’ Russian athletes competed in Sochi knowing ‘for certain’ their samples would come back clean


WADA lawyer: ‘Dirty’ Russian athletes competed in Sochi knowing ‘for certain’ their samples would come back clean


WADA investigation finds evidence of ‘state-directed’ doping program in Russian sports


Russian Ministry of Sport was directly involved in doping program: WADA lawyer

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