All-inclusive playground planned for Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre

West Shore Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Colwood Rotary, is raising funds to build an inclusive playground

West Shore Parks and Recreation, in partnership with Colwood Rotary, is raising funds to build an inclusive playground at the recreation centre.

“The key (to universal playgrounds) is to present opportunities for all abilities,” said Gene Mazza, a senior landscape architect at Associated Engineering, whose services in designing the park are being offered for free.

Of the $244,000 required to build the playground, more than half has yet to be raised.

“We saw an opportunity and a need in the community,” said current president Russell Lazaruk.

Members of the public are invited to sponsor bricks that will make up the playground’s retaining wall. Sponsors’ names will be engraved on the bricks, with small ones going for $100, medium ones for $150 and large ones for $200.

People can also sponsor a piece of equipment, and have their name inscribed on a buck-a-bout (a four-way seesaw) for $2,500, on a bigga-dou-disk (a pair of large, circular swings) for $14,000 or on a high tower slide-o-rama (a large piece of climbing and sliding apparatus) for $21,000.

Colwood Rotary has also been running 50/50 draws at Rugby Canada fixtures taking place at Langford’s City Centre Park.

Other efforts include an art and wine festival planned for June 23, and a golf tournament planned tentatively for September.

“Historically people thought of handicapped playgrounds for people with disabilities and regular playgrounds for more able-bodied children,” Mazza explained.

That meant that kids of different abilities had to use different playgrounds. The idea of inclusive playgrounds is to provide a space where kids of all abilities can play together.

“That’s the real spirit of an inclusive playground,” said Mazza.

“The idea’s been around for a long time, but there’s been a push for it in the last five to 10 years,” said Mary Lou Wilmott, a sales consultant with RecTec, a Vancouver-based firm that designs and sells inclusive play equipment.

The new playground at West Shore recreation will be located on the far east side, between the existing Colwood Rotary Picnic Shelter and the baseball diamonds. It will have one set of equipment designed for preschoolers, and another to accommodate older children, with a path leading up to the picnic area winding through the middle.

Common features of inclusive playgrounds are big swings that are accessible from a wheelchair, allowing helpers to board as necessary and getting kids of all abilities playing closely together.

“The idea isn’t just building for kids in wheelchairs,” said Wilmott. “You’ve got to consider kids who are blind, kids with autism.”

Braille inscribed toys for the visually impaired and spinning toys that have been shown to help autistic children are in the plans.

“We hope to break ground in September,” said West Shore Parks and Recreation co-ordinator Bobbi Neal.

“There’s talk of putting a water park in there at some point,” said Mazza. “It could become a centre of playground excellence down there.”

For more information about the planned playground and to make a donation visit www.westshorerecreation.ca/facilities/playground.

A donation box and information sheets have also been placed at reception at the Juan de Fuca Rec Centre.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Second cannabis dispensary earns Langford approval

The Original Farm Langford Ltd. plans to open in Belmont Market

Cathedral to hold inclusive memorial for those lost through overdoses

Christ Church Cathedral memorial to respect diverse spirituality of participants

Free cancer care workshops at SHOAL centre this May

Cancer charity InspireHealth offer patient-centred worhshops

Community members can hop over to Millstream Village for Easter Eggstravaganza

Easter egg hunt and other activities take place on Good Friday

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria receives $2.8M Anthony Thorn donation

Victoria News article inspires hefty donation for gallery expansion

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Prince George sweeps to first-ever BC Hockey League crown

Spruce Kings beat Vernon Vipers 3-1 in the Okanagan Wednesday for 13th straight playoff win

Hwang’s first MLS goal lifts Whitecaps to 1-0 win over LAFC

Vancouver picks up first victory of season

Child-proof your windows ahead of warm weather: B.C. expert

Fifteen children were taken to BC Children’s Hospital for falls in 2018

B.C. trucker pleads guilty to lesser charges in fatal Manitoba crash

Gurjant Singh was fined $3,000 and given a one-year driving prohibition.

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

Island man guilty of child porn charges, Crown alleges 250,000 images

Psychiatric assessment requested by Crown, sentencing to be set June 4 in Nanaimo court

Most Read