c̓əsqənelə Elementary has a new playground for students to enjoy, made possible because of a large community effort.
“We have a lot of great kids that are super happy to have the playground finally, to be able to play on,” said Chrystal Akiyama, a member of c̓əsqənelə’s parent advisory council (PAC). “We have worked very hard over the past few years together as a PAC and a community with our parents and our team supporters throughout the school district.”
The playground took two years of effort, including fundraising, finding a supplier, and building the structure.
“It was a long process, and all of our hearts went into it 150 per cent,” Akiyama said. “Honestly, we couldn’t ask for anything better. We got exactly what we set out to do.”
The PAC fundraised $97,000 for the playground while the school district contributed $61,000 in capital funds, and $6,500 was raised in donations.
The school community wanted a playground that was going to blend in with the surroundings but still offer a creative, challenging way to play, and that’s where Habitat Systems, the playground equipment supplier, came in.
The new playground features multiple slides, monkey bars, spinners, nets, climbers and built-in shade, all tied together with the nature-inspired theme of “treetops.”
“The concept behind the structure is as if you’re hanging in the trees, swinging from branches, and at an elevation that’s going to make you feel that you’re up in the trees,” explained Brad Neufeld, business development manager with Habitat Systems.
The idea, he added, is that there’s something for everyone. There are all sorts of overhead components the children can swing from, and several different routes they can take, including some that are more accessible while others are more challenging.
Part of the playground has a rubberized surface so mobility devices can access the structure as well.
“We understand that this park gets used after hours or on the weekends,” Neufeld said, “so if a grandmother is here with the grandkids, you want to have that accessibility.”
The reviews from students so far are promising.
“I think it’s definitely a tree,” Grade 3 student Ella said, adding, “we learn a lot about First Nations, nature and golden eagles, so I think it does fit.”
Boia, who is in Grade 2, says she will be using the playground often.
“It’s really cool and fun to play on,” she explained.
Grade 4 student Ainslea is a fan of the colours.
“It’s really nice because it’s like right in front of the forest and it matches all the colours and stuff,” she said.