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Courtenay Elementary students enjoy accessible playground

Provincial program enables playground construction at five Comox Valley schools
Courtenay Elementary students joined Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, fourth from right, and SD71 board chair Tonia Frawley, second from right, to announce the school’s new playground. Scott Stanfield photo

Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard paid a Thursday visit to Courtenay Elementary to announce and to celebrate the school’s new accessible playground.

This year, she said, marks the fifth year that government has provided money for playgrounds, which prevents parent advisory councils from having to raise funds for this expensive — and important — piece of equipment for children.

“It’s now $30 million is the total we have funded for 213 schools across British Columbia,” Leonard said. “This being the first one, it’s a real demonstration of that goal of making sure every child in British Columbia gets to have the same equitable access to important learning things, and playing things, and making them accessible.”

Courtenay Elementary is one of five local schools to have a new playground constructed since the Provincial Playground Equipment Program was created. The others are Aspen Park, Airport, Arden and Husband Park elementary schools.

SD71 board chair Tonia Frawley said provincial funds enabled construction of the new Hornby Island Community School that replaced the building destroyed by fire. The district also received $975,000 for roofing at Isfeld Secondary, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at Brooklyn Elementary.

The school district also received considerable funding for seismic upgrades at Lake Trail Middle School, where a modern facility has replaced everything but the gymnasium. A $1.5-million child care centre will also open soon at Lake Trail.

In addition, a new Cumberland child care facility is underway.

“With the rapid growth we are experiencing here in the Comox Valley, we anticipate more investments in child care, and for badly needed expansions and upgrades to our schools,” Frawley said.

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Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard takes a swing at the new playground at Courtenay Elementary, Thursday. Scott Stanfield photo

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