NDP MLA Leonard says Comox Valley students will have new accessible playground, school upgrades

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COMOX – New Democrat MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard says students at Huband Park Elementary will soon be playing on a new accessible playground, thanks to $165,000 in provincial funding, along with $975,000 in upgrades for the Comox Valley School District.

“Getting outside to play has been more important than ever for our kids this year,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “I’m so glad that our government took action three years ago to create the Playground Equipment Program, a reliable source of funding so parents can spend less time fundraising and more time playing with their kids.”

This year, New Democrats are doubling the annual investment to $10 million to deliver 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts. The Comox Valley School District received $165,000 for this new accessible playground, up $40,000 per playground from previous years. This increase will allow the playground to be designed with accessible features like ground cover, ramps and/or transfer platforms that connect to the play structure – to ensure there’s a place for all students to play. The playgrounds will be built over the next year and are expected to be ready for kids to play on by early 2022.

Playgrounds help kids stay active outdoors while learning to share, build conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges. Playing outside reduces anxiety and improves focus, helping kids to learn in the classroom.

This funding comes from the Playground Equipment Program (PEP), created in 2018 to reduce the burden of fundraising on parents and help communities buy the playground equipment students need. Since 2018, the New Democrat government has invested $25 million to fund 201 new playgrounds at schools throughout the province, benefiting more than 49,000 students.

Students will also benefit from upgraded and more energy-efficient learning environments, with $240.5 million in school maintenance grants distributed across the province this year.

The Comox Valley School District is receiving $975,000 for upgrades including roofing at Mark R. Isfeld Senior Secondary School and HVAC systems at Brooklyn Elementary.

Annual facilities maintenance grants have also supported school districts to plan and budget for upgrades and maintenance to school ventilation as students return to class. These investments are a part of the province’s commitment to update infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible learning environments. The New Democrat government has delivered historic levels of funding to B.C. schools, including $1.2 billion for new and improved schools for B.C. students in Budget 2021.​​

Learn More

Playgrounds: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021EDUC0074-001766

School maintenance grants: https://news.gov.bc.ca/24466