Workers put the finishing touches on APES’ brand new playground last week. Most of the funds for the $180

Workers put the finishing touches on APES’ brand new playground last week. Most of the funds for the $180

New inclusive playground ready at Alexander Park Elementary

When students at APES finally do return to the classroom, they’ll be happy to know they’ll have a brand new playground on which to play.

When students at Alexander Park Elementary finally do return to the classroom, they’ll be happy to know they’ll have a brand new playground on which to play.

The facility has been in the works since October of 2012, when the Parent Advisory Council took on the task of getting the school a new playground.

The playground comes with a $180,000 price tag which was raised through donations, primarily from local businesses. The school district covered about $40,000 of that figure.

The reason for the higher cost is due to the fact that the facility is accessible for children with limited mobility.

“It has this rubber surface that allows children with restricted or limited mobility to access the toys. It also has a large number of ground level toys for children in wheelchairs or who can’t climb and it has a specifically dedicated wheelchair toy,” Chenoa Paccagnan told the Golden Star when the fundraising began. Paccagnan  championed the campaign to make this playground possible as a member of PAC, but has since left the community.

“It’s not just for children in wheel chairs. And even if it only helps one, isn’t it worth it?” asked Paccagnan.

“It also eliminates barriers in a larger way. Children don’t see children with disabilities the way adults do. All they see is that children are playing in the area, or they’re not. Now they’ll all be playing together.”

Stan Metcalfe (Golden Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic) has said he has 80 children going through his office with some sort of mobility issue.

“The best part of my job is getting kids playing,” said Metcalfe. “And the pieces that Chenoa and the PAC have picked will make a huge difference.”

“When we first started we weren’t sure if Golden had an appetite for a fully accessible playground, because the rubber base adds significantly to the cost,” said Paccagnan.

The appetite was clearly there, given the amount of funding that came from local donations.

“If you look at the list of sponsors it is primarily from Golden, which is huge…the response for this project was absolutely tremendous,” Paccagnan said. “This project would never have happened without the people in the community.”

The playground replaces the old wooden structure that had maxed out its lifespan.

“The wood is so old the paint is gone and it’s splintered and chemically treated. The fireman’s pole doesn’t meet regulation, there’s all sorts of things,” Paccagnan had said of the previous playground.