SUNSHINE COAST – New Democrat MLA Nicholas Simons says students at Halfmoon Bay Elementary and Henderson Elementary will soon be playing on new accessible playgrounds, thanks to $165,000 each in provincial funding, along with $1,400,000 in school upgrades in SD46 and $1,325,000 in upgrades in SD47.
“Our government believes that play is so important to children’s healthy development and these new playgrounds will mean that kids can get outdoors to exercise and socialize with their peers,” said Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast. “We’re making record investments in education infrastructure, providing playgrounds, upgrading school buildings, and creating new classrooms so B.C. kids can get the best possible start in life.”
This year, New Democrats are doubling the annual investment to $10 million to deliver 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts. The Sunshine Coast and Powell River School Districts each received $165,000 for these new accessible playgrounds, 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 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.
Sunshine Coast School District received $1,400,000 this year for projects which include:
- HVAC and dust collector at Pender Harbour Secondary
- Interior upgrades at Kinnikinnick Elementary
- LED lighting upgrades at Elphinstone Secondary
Powell River School District received $1,325,000 this year for projects including:
- Electrical and LED lighting upgrades at Brooks Secondary
- Roofing upgrades at Edgehill Elementary and James Thomson Elementary
- HVAC upgrades at Westview Elementary and Kelly Creek Community School
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.
School maintenance grants: https://news.gov.bc.ca/24466