NDP MLA Russell says Grand Forks students will have new accessible playground, school upgrades

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GRAND FORKS – New Democrat MLA Roly Russell says students at John A. Hutton Elementary will soon be playing on a new accessible playground, thanks to $165,000 in provincial funding, along with $1,116,000 in funding for school upgrades for the district.

“Students deserve safe, fun, and accessible places to play – and that shouldn’t depend on their parents’ ability to fundraise,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “We are funding new playgrounds like this one so that kids can have more active outdoor play to keep them healthy and happy.”

This year, New Democrats are doubling the annual investment to $10 million to deliver 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts. Boundary School District received $165,000 for this new accessible playground, up $40,000 from previous years. This increase will allow the playgrounds 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 playground 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. Boundary School District received $1,116,000 this year for projects which include:

  • HVAC upgrades, interior renovations, and LED lighting upgrades at Grand Forks Secondary
  • LED lighting upgrades at Christina Lake Elementary
  • HVAC upgrades at Dr D A Perley Elementary
  • Roofing upgrades at West Boundary 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/25321

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