BURNABY – New Democrat MLAs Janet Routledge, Katrina Chen, Anne Kang and Raj Chouhan say students at Lyndhurst Elementary and Confederation Park Elementary will soon be playing on new accessible playgrounds, thanks to $330,000 in provincial funding, along with over one million in funding for school upgrades and new buses for the district.
“The past year has been a challenging one for families in Burnaby, and the last thing they want to do is more fundraising,” said Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North. “New Democrats created the playground fund so parents can spend less time raising money for needed equipment, 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 Burnaby School District 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.
“As a mother of a young child, I know how playing outside with friends is such an important part of our kids’ daily routine and their wellbeing,” said Katrina Chen, MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed. “This new playground at Lyndhurst Elementary will help students stay active and stay focused when it’s time to learn.”
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 Burnaby School District received $1,146,134 this year for projects which include:
- HVAC upgrades at Burnaby South Secondary
- LED lighting upgrades and HVAC upgrades at Marlborough East
- Energy systems upgrades at Ecole Marlborough 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.
Anne Kang, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake
“Since 2018, New Democrats have invested $955,000 to fund eight new playgrounds at elementary schools across Burnaby. Our government is committed to supporting our students mental and physical wellbeing so they can thrive.”
Raj Chouhan, MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds
“Ensuring these new playgrounds are accessible will make our schools more welcoming and inclusive for students with disabilities. All students deserve a safe place to play, together.”
School maintenance grants: https://news.gov.bc.ca/24466