Thornhill Elementary School is getting a new playground thanks to recently announced provincial funding.
On May 8, Premier John Horgan announced that the province would be investing $5 million in funding for safer, more accessible playground equipment in 51 schools across B.C.
Thornhill Elementary will receive $90,000 to replace their playground by September, according to the province.
“The existing playground at Thornhill Elementary School is a wooden structure that is coming to the end of its serviceable life,” said the Coast Mountain School District in an email.
The school district applied back in April 2018 for the funding and gave the ministry a list of three schools they believed were in the greatest need, according to Krystal Miller, chair of the district parent advisory committee.
Generally, school parent advisory councils (PACs) have to fundraise large sums of money for new and replacement playground equipment, but Minister of Education Rob Fleming says that with this initiative, parent councils can now allocate those funds elsewhere.
“I’ve heard from parents that they need relief from fundraising tens of thousands of dollars for playground equipment – that’s a lot of bake sales and bottle drives for today’s busy parents,” said Fleming. “Today, we’re delivering this fund to help parents, and provide access to communities that don’t have the fundraising capacity to buy the play equipment students need.”
Miller said the funding does take off some of the pressure for PACs – particularly for Thornhill parents who have been fundraising to purchase new equipment for a number of years.
The money already raised by parents will combine with the provincial funding to pay for the Thornhill playground.
“Playground equipment is very expensive. I think people would be surprised at how expensive it is,” Miller said.
“At the end of the day, if it’s for the kids, it’s awesome. There’s no downside to children having better equipment to play on.”
This year, 26 schools are receiving $90,000 for a standard playground, and 25 schools are receiving $105,000 for a universally accessible playground.