Playgrounds

Playgrounds are a fundamental part of being a kid. They are not just places to run around and jump and climb but they are where imaginations soar - one day they are a pirate ship, the next a fort under siege or maybe they are a castle where a princess lives. These are important places for children to develop and learn and play and contribute to healthier communities as a result of that. 

Playgrounds

Playgrounds are a fundamental part of being a kid. They are not just places to run around and jump and climb but they are where imaginations soar - one day they are a pirate ship, the next a fort under siege or maybe they are a castle where a princess lives. These are important places for children to develop and learn and play and contribute to healthier communities as a result of that. 

My son and I love playground hopping. We can name almost every playground in ward papastew if you send us a picture, in fact, I’ll bet you a coffee that if you send me a playground picture, we can guess the location.

However, not all playgrounds are created or treated equally in Edmonton and as a result we see a disparity between the playgrounds built in newer communities and those that have existed in the central part of the city-- including some right here in Ward papastew. As a result of land ownership issues and eligibility for funding from municipal, provincial and federal programs inner city schools are starting at a disadvantage when it comes to the replacement or renewal of their school playgrounds. Because these playgrounds are usually located on school owned land they are ineligible for municipal and provincial funding, whereas if a new school was being built dedicated funding is set aside for the construction of a new playground. The cost of a new playground is about $500,000 and for communities in the inner city almost all of the burden of fundraising this amount falls onto the community.

Playgrounds are yet another aspect of multi-jurisdictional shared infrastructure and joint use planning that I am passionate about. Over the last 11 years as your elected Public School Board Trustee I have worked with local parent groups and school committees to fundraise for the renewal of their playgrounds and I have been a strong advocate at board meetings for working with the city to ensure that when new communities and schools are built that we have adequate playground facilities included in the design of those neighbourhoods. But how can we address this disparity and the jurisdictional hot potato that exists for communities who need or want playgrounds in the inner city and ensure safe, accessible and inclusive communities for everyone?

There are a number of ways we can do this:

  • As your elected Councillor in papastew I will establish regular meetings with our School Board Trustees and this will be a standing item on our agenda to ensure there is coordination and collaboration between the two levels of elected government.
  • We can look at changing program eligibility so that regardless of where the playground is sitting - school property vs. municipally owned property - the playground is eligible for fundings.
  • We can explore the creation of new programs for inner city playgrounds to help them be replaced with decreased burden on community and parent groups for fundraising.
  • The city could offer services to parent and community groups to help them through the procurement and design processes. Services which would be offered to similar groups in newer communities because those playgrounds are located on municipally owned land.

A child should not be limited in the quality and accessibility of their playgrounds because they live in a neighbourhood where the playground was built in the wrong place, or on the wrong piece of land. I want to be able to work with you to make our communities safer, more accessible and inclusive and ensuring we have safe, well built and modern playgrounds is one way to do that.

Connect with Michael