NDP MLAs say Abbotsford and Mission students will have new accessible playgrounds, school upgrades

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ABBOTSFORD- New Democrat MLAs Pam Alexis and Bob D’Eith say students at Centennial Park Elementary in Abbotsford and Edwin S. Richards Elementary in Mission will soon be playing on new accessible playgrounds, thanks to $330,000 in provincial funding for the two schools, along with over $3 million in funding for school upgrades and new buses between both districts.

“So many of our memories of school days occur in those moments with our peers in between classes or at the end of the day,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “Our government knows that this funding to make sure that schools across the province have more accessible playgrounds will mean that all children can partake in the fun.”

This year, New Democrats are doubling the annual investment to $10 million to deliver 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts. Abbotsford and Mission school districts received $165,000 for each 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 playgrounds will be built over the next year and are expected to be ready for kids to play on by early 2022.

“One of the things this pandemic has taught us is how important it is to make sure kids get outside and play,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “Our government is delivering for kids by committing to these accessible playgrounds, along with energy efficient upgrades to multiple schools across the province.”

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.  Abbotsford School District (#34) received $1,884,848 this year for projects which include:

  • Exterior wall systems at Abbotsford Traditional Senior Secondary
  • LED lighting upgrades at Rick Hansen Secondary

Mission School District (#75) received $1,143,448 this year for projects which include:

  • Roofing upgrades at Stave Falls Elementary
  • LED lighting upgrades at Deroche Elementary, Ecole Heritage Park Middle, Mission Central Elementary and Windebank Elementary
  • One new bus in the district.

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.​​

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