The province announced funding for school playgrounds. Campbell River’s Penfield Elementary is among the recipients. File photo, Black Press

Campbell River schools among those getting provincial playground funds

Penfield Elementary will receive $105,000 for new universally accessible site

A Campbell River elementary school is getting some funding from the province for a new playground.

On Friday, the B.C. government announced through the Playground Equipment Program (PEP) it will build 50 new playgrounds in 34 school districts this year. The goal is to help provide healthier, more accessible learning environments for kids.

Penfield Elementary will receive $105,000 for a universally accessible playground at the school.

Along with benefiting students, Minister of Education Rob Fleming says the program helps reduce the pressure on parents to raise funds.

“As a parent, I understand first-hand how tough it can be for schools and parents to find the time and volunteers to fundraise for playground equipment and activities,” he said in a March 15 news release. “Our government is committed to improving the learning environment at B.C. schools — safe, fun and accessible playgrounds are very much part of delivering on this commitment. And to make this happen, parents should not have to become dedicated fundraisers in their spare time.”

The province points out playgrounds are key to a child’s development and learning. They encourage outdoor physical activity, helping students to learn social skills, overcome adversity and focus and learn more effectively in the classroom.

This year, PEP will provide $5 million to fund 50 new playgrounds, including 30 universally accessible playgrounds. The playgrounds will be built over the next six months and should be ready by fall. Premier John Horgan announced the $5 million to officially launch the PEP program last May 2018.

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To qualify, school districts send a list of capital plan priorities each June. The province funds playgrounds based on the greatest need, such as schools that have no playground, followed by those with aging equipment. Districts that did not qualify this year are able to apply for funding next years.

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