SD72 board office. Campbell River Mirror photo

New accessible playgrounds, maintenance upgrades coming to north Island schools

Maintenance upgrades also coming for School Districts 72, 84 and 85

  • Sep. 10, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Students at two North Island elementary schools will soon be playing on new accessible playgrounds, thanks to some recently-announced provincial funding.

The province announced $165,000 each for Georgia Park Elementary in Campbell River and Ray Watkins Elementary in Gold River for the accessible playgrounds, which will be designed with features like ground cover, ramps and transfer platforms that help ensure there’s a place for all students to play.

“Playgrounds help kids stay active outdoors while learning to share, build conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges,” says a release from the province. “Playing outside reduces anxiety and improves focus, helping kids to learn in the classroom.”

“Having a quality, accessible local playground is a game changer for families,” says MLA Michele Babchuk. “This funding means parents will have the peace of mind that their kids are able to learn and grow on safe and accessible equipment, and local PAC groups can focus their fundraising efforts on priorities that reflect the urgent and distinct needs of their students and communities.”

That $165,000 is up $40,000 per playground from previous years. The funding comes from the Playground Equipment Program, which helps reduce the burden on parents to fund new play structures.

The new playgrounds will be built over the next year and should be ready by early 2022.

That’s not the only funding coming to north Island schools over the next year. Over $4 million in school maintenance grants are coming to the Campbell River, Vancouver Island West and Vancouver Island North school districts.

The Campbell River School District is receiving $1,758,344 for upgrades including:

– Roofing upgrades at Penfield Elementary

– HVAC upgrades at Carihi Secondary

– Three new buses

The Vancouver Island West School District is receiving $1,305,000 for upgrades including:

– Exterior wall systems and electrical upgrades at Kyuquot Elementary-Secondary

– Energy system upgrades at Captain Meares Elementary-Secondary

– LED lighting upgrades at Zeballos Elementary-Secondary

The Vancouver Island North School District is receiving $1,268,753 for upgrades including:

– Interior upgrades at Port Hardy Secondary

– LED lighting upgrades at North Island Secondary

“These investments are a part of the province’s commitment to update infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible learning environments,” says the release.

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B.C. invests $5M for new school playground equipment

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