Playground issues at Alexander Park Elementary

Playground issues at Alexander Park Elementary may lead to the replacement of some equipment.

Alexander Park Elementary School is looking to upgrade one of the two playground structures on the school’s grounds.

“We are looking to replace a very significant piece of playground equipment… You can see what a huge part of our community this playground is,” said Chenoa Paccagnan, secretary of the school’s Parent Advisory Council, who spoke in a delegation to town council. “It’s in a central location in our community.”

The playground is situated near many town facilities like the Rec Plex, the Arena, the Curling Club, the pump track, the skateboard park, and the green gym, as well as the municipal campground.

The delegation requested a grant in aid of $5,000 to replace the old one, which is now “the worst structure in the district,” according to Paccagnan, and in fact, no longer meets CSA safety standards.

“It has been a well-used and well-loved structure but its time is coming to an end.”

The PAC will also be seeking a Rick Hansen Foundation grant to make it an inclusive structure, mainly through the incorporation of the U-swing.

The budget for the new playground will be just over $90,000.

The PAC reserves account for $10,000 of that, and $30,000 will come from the school district.

The PAC is seeking to make up the rest with grants (grant in aid from the town, the Rick Hanson Foundation grant, a grant from UBCM, and they are also looking into the Columbia Basin Trust, local corporate sponsorships, local service clubs, and the BC Tire Stewardship).

“We anticipate raising all money to replace the entire playground, and to install a pour-in-place base,” said Paccagnan in the PAC application.

The playground is expected to last 25 years, and the school district will take full responsibility for maintenance and repairs for the life of the structure.

The reason the PAC is asking for the money so early is because there are funds left  in this year’s budget, and next year there may not be.

So council has referred it to discussion at the Dec. 18 council meeting.

Without the community support, this project will not be feasible.

It requires financial contributions form various sources.

“This playground makes our community more attractive for people who want to relocate here, and for our visitors,” said Paccagnan.