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Cedar parents raising funds for playground

Campbell River mom Dionne Lanqvist is facing an uphill battle.

She, along with the rest of the Cedar Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC), needs to come up with several thousands of dollars to replace the school’s playground.

The play apparatus was built in the early 1990s and is nearing the end of its life expectancy.

Lanqvist, chair of the school’s PAC, said it’s up to the PAC to come up with the money for a replacement, as school districts can’t afford to provide all of their schools with new playgrounds.

“For two years, we’ve been trying to raise money for a new playground,” Lanqvist says. “That one is decrepit. It’s had issues that have had to be repaired, issues with things like screws sticking out.”

As issues have popped up, they’ve been immediately fixed to ensure the children’s safety, but Lanqvist says it’s time for an overhaul. Not only would she like to see a new play structure, but her vision is also to move the playground from the front of the school to the back, where there is more space.

“It’s the only playground in the district that’s right off the parking lot,” Lanqvist says. “A lot of traffic goes by and people cut through the playground.”

The playground is also too small. With 171 students — and Cedar’s student population projected to grow long-term — the playground is far from adequate.

“It’s not even close to big enough to accommodate all the students,” Lanqvist says. “Lunch times have had to be split to accommodate all the kids.”

The PAC needs to raise between $66,000 and $100,000 to purchase playground equipment large enough to serve the school’s population. And that’s just for the equipment — there are also installation and shipping costs involved.

But Lanqvist says it’s a worthwhile cause, as the entire neighbourhood will benefit. With the play structure at Centennial Park being removed a couple of years ago in favour of a natural playscape, a lot more kids have been coming to Cedar school to play. There are also a lot of kids living in the area who don’t have backyards.

The PAC has been trying to raise money in-house since last school year. But Lanqvist says this year, she’s focusing on doing community events to relieve some of the financial pressure put on parents.

This Saturday, March 12, the school is hosting a craft fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The halls of the school and the gym (which is a separate building) will be full of 48 different vendors selling a variety of things. There will be knitters, crafters, home-based businesses, a petting zoo and a photographer doing Easter photos.

A second fundraiser will kick off March 16: a raffle for gift baskets and speciality-made adirondack chairs that runs until May 5. Tickets will be sold at Coastal Community Credit Union at Discovery Harbour shopping centre.