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Two Richmond schools to receive new playgrounds

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:40 PDT, Mon September 21, 2020

James Gilmore and William Bridge are among 40 BC schools to receive new, safe and accessible playgrounds this year.

The $5 million provincial investment will see each school receive a $125,000 investment through the Playground Equipment Program, a $25,000 increase from last year’s investment.

“Children deserve fun, safe places to play at school, but parents are too often burdened with the task of raising the funds to build them,” said Premier John Horgan. “That’s why our government is investing another $5 million—the third investment in three years—to build playgrounds in BC communities that need them most.”

Playgrounds help promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles, encourage children to share, develop conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges. Playing outside helps reduce anxiety, improves focus and enhances students’ attention spans.

The Playground Equipment Program was launched in 2018. Since then, government has invested $15 million to provide 141 new playgrounds to schools throughout the province, benefiting more than 35,000 students. Every school district has now received at least one new playground. The program relieves parents of some of the responsibility for fundraising for playground equipment and provides access to communities that do not have the fundraising capacity to buy the playground equipment students need.

“The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) strongly commends the ministry for its continued support of local parent advisory councils, the recognition of the pressure on parents to fundraise to replace aging or non-existent playground structures and the hundreds of hours parents volunteer to ensure that their communities have play spaces,” said BCCPAC president Andrea Sinclair. “From the conception of this program, BCCPAC has long worked with the ministry to ensure that all new playgrounds are accessible for each and every one of our children. Parents strongly believe accessible playgrounds should not be dependent on the school community’s ability to raise funds. This program alleviates some of the inequities in the public education system.”

School districts have the opportunity to apply for the funding by sending a list of priorities in their capital plan submissions in June of each year. Playgrounds are funded based on greatest need. Priority is given to schools where there is no playground at all, then to schools where the existing playground is aging. School districts that did not receive funding this year may receive it next year if they reapply.

To learn more about the Playground Equipment Program, click here.

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