Accessible Playground Funded for North Delta’s Richardson Elementary School – North Delta Reporter

Richardson Elementary School in North Delta will receive a new accessible playground thanks to a $165,000 grant from the provincial government.

The province announced the funding April 29, with Richardson one of 30 schools from 24 districts selected to receive money to design, build and install new accessible playgrounds over the next year. . In total, British Columbia is investing $5 million this year through its Playground Equipment Program (PEP).

“Taking a break from the classroom and spending time outside to play gives children the opportunity to explore through play-based learning,” said Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, in a press release. “We know it’s important for families to have space for children to play safely and that’s why our government is committed to supporting students with new accessible playgrounds during many years to come.

On Friday (May 6), the district held an assembly in Richardson to celebrate the funding announcement.

Delta North MPP Ravi Kahlon, who attended Friday’s ceremony, said he was proud to be able to share the news with the Richardson community.

“We know it is vitally important for children to play, and we now know, thanks to the pandemic, how important our outdoor facilities are, not only for recreation but also for the mental health of our young people,” Kahlon told the Journalist. “By building this new playground, by committing to build [these] facilities, we give our young people the opportunity to play, to be outside with their friends, in a safe environment.

Richardson is the fourth elementary school in North Delta in five years to receive funding for a new playground, following Jarvis Traditional in 2020, McCloskey in 2019 and Chalmers in 2018. Although this latest playground has yet to be designed, it should be fully accessible. and include “adventure-style” gear that can suit all ages.

Kahlon said Richardson getting this new playground is exciting news for the “heart of North Delta,” complementing recently completed community amenities such as the track facility at North Delta Secondary and the North Delta Center for the Arts, which has its big delay opening this Saturday (May 14).

“[There’s] there is a lot going on in the area,” he said.

Kahlon also thanked Delta School Board President Val Windsor and her fellow administrators for doing their part to make this investment happen.

“They continue to create great lists and business cases of why our community’s playgrounds need to be improved, and every time dollars come in, they rush to apply and pursue those opportunities” , did he declare.

Windsor took the opportunity on Friday to pass it on thanks to Whiteside, saying having a new accessible playground will not only benefit the school but the community as a whole.

“You can look at the northern delta [Secondary] Track; this place is busy all the time with people walking around, not just students,” Windsor said.

“The other thing of course is that we know that playgrounds bring communities together, and we know that after two years of physical distancing and all the perils of the pandemic, being able to come together as a community is crucial. . So it will renew all those friendships and foster new ones, and the benefit to the community is huge.

For 6th graders Logan, Keira and Devinjit, Friday’s announcement was exciting, if a bit bittersweet, news.

“It’s actually going to be quite sad because I had a lot of memories there and a lot of kids love it, but also it’s falling apart – well, there’s a lot of rust,” said Guess at Journalist.

“I’m very excited to see what it’s going to look like,” Logan added.

Although all three are past high school by the time the playground is set up, the trio know the kind of impact it will have on others at school.

“When we had the ‘new’ playground [in 2016] – we always call it the new playground because it’s the newest for us – everyone wanted to play on it because it’s not, like, same old, same old,” Keira said .

“Everyone just wanted to play on it because it was brand new,” Devinjit continued. “I just imagine the crowd that will be at the new playground [when it opens].”

“When you think about it, it was really new for us, this new playground, but for [the younger kids] it’s kind of like, oh yeah, this is the playground that’s been around since we’ve been alive,” Logan said.

“We won’t be there when it’s done, but my brother will be, and I think he’s going to be very happy with the new playground, and a lot of younger students [will be too]“, said Keira.

And since the new playground will also be fully accessible, “I feel like a lot of the kids here who might not have been able to use it before will be thrilled,” Logan said.

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Devinjit, Keira and Logan, Grade 6 students from Richardson Elementary, speak at an assembly Friday, May 13, 2022 to announce provincial funding for the construction of a new accessible playground at North Delta School. (photo by James Smith)

Harold B. McConnell