Today’s Editorial January 30: Walking/jogging track needed

Minister of Sports Alden McLaughlin has announced that when the Truman Bodden Sports Complex is completed, the public will no longer be able to use the facility for walking and jogging.

Mr. McLaughlin said continual public usage of the track damages it and that tracks are very expensive to resurface

When the facility was open for public usage, there were people with baby trams, people with improper footwear and a variety of fun-related events taking place on the track. Mr. McLaughlin said the country simply cannot afford to do that anymore.

The decision will undoubtedly meet with the approval of Cayman Islands Athletic Association President Delroy Murray, who believes Cayman’s national stadium should be reserved exclusively for the usage of Cayman’s elite athletes.

Mr. Murray points out that national stadiums in other countries are not open to the public and he’s quite right.

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Cayman’s elite athletes should have a special and adequate place to train and compete. In addition, having a proper facility will make it easier for Cayman to attract elite athletes from other countries to come here and train or compete.

But where is the public to go now? We are continually being told we need to exercise daily, but where do we do this without having to annually shell out $400 or more to a fitness centre. Many people prefer to walk or jog rather than go to the fitness centre in any case.

Unfortunately, Cayman’s roadsides are not, in general, the safest places to walk or jog. Anyone who has walked, jogged, pushed a tram or ridden a bicycle on or alongside Cayman’s roads knows how dangerous it can be, not only because of vehicular traffic, but also because of unrestrained dogs.

The problem is that there are few options open to the public.

Mr. McLaughlin says to fret not because there is a plan to build a multi-purpose public sports facility behind George Hicks High School on what has been known as the middle school field. That facility will include a lighted walking and jogging track around the perimeter. It will also feature a regulation football field, a practice football field and a practice cricket wicket.

And the facility will be for public usage.

We applaud the decision to construct such a facility, but we note that there will be a delay between the completion of the Truman Bodden refit and the construction of the new facility. We can only hope that wait will not be too long because the public really needs a safe place to walk or jog.

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