The school district is now weighing in on the removal of the Parkside Princess and the playground that have been removed from Parkside Secondary School recently.
The playground and ship were removed because they was deemed unsafe and the school district is expanding the parking lot to fill that space.
“The playground that was there with the boat has been deteriorating over the last number of years,” said Art Erasmus, Terrace trustee for the Coast Mountains School District.
“It was deteriorating to a point where it was becoming dangerous.”
The playground and its iconic 39-year-old ship, known as the Parkside Princess, was removed last weekend by Kleanza Construction, who was contracted to dispose of it and now owns the ship and playground.
Owner Tom Spisak and several local groups are planning to save the Parkside Princess and put it in the Jackpine area.
According to Erin Lockhart, who together with friend Karen Menz decided to save the Parkside Princess, saw a Facebook post from someone who works at Kleanza Construction saying that the princess was going to be removed.
She and Menz went down to Parkside July 30 to talk to the owner of Kleanza Construction Tom Spisak, who already wanted to save the ship.
“We may have been the little push they needed that encouraged them to save it,” she said, and added that she and Menz and their kids were all who showed up to help save the ship despite a request being put up for people to rally to save it.
“It’s ‘Pirate Park.’ It’s my kids’ favourite place to go and play.”
Their idea was to save it and put it on Ferry Island but when Lockhart talked to city hall, she was told it couldn’t go to Ferry Island because it was deemed to be unsafe.
Denise Lefrancois offered to have it put in at the John Whittington Park in Jackpine Flats that she and others are trying to get up and running.
Spisak had a flatbed and moved the ship that’s in his possession until it can go to Jackpine in a couple of weeks, said Lockhart.
Lockhart is quick to add that all this effort to save the Parkside Princess has been done by more than just her and Menz.
“It’s everybody’s efforts, not just me and Karen,” she said adding they don’t want all the credit for saving the boat.
It would never have been saved without the initial posting on Facebook alerting people to its impending demise, she said.
“They did such a great job keeping it together and making sure it didn’t get ruined and they busted their butts in a few hours,” she said about Kleanza Construction working to remove the Parkside Princess and to take it to safekeeping until it can be relocated.
“It was a great job by everybody.”
Alanna Cameron, secretary-treasurer with the school district, said the park was originally deemed unsafe through a playground review in October 2015.
“The park didn’t meet the Canadian safety requirements,” she said.
The review states the boat was found in poor condition, and “concerns were noted due to design, potential impact, head entrapment, entanglement and protrusion areas, lack of standard handrails, guardrails and protective barriers.”
The playground was originally put in when the school was a primary school, but since it is now a secondary school there is no need for a playground, Cameron said.
She added that the provincial government does not fund playgrounds anymore.
“In order for us to consider putting funds towards revitalizing this ship, other district needs would have to be set aside,” Cameron explained of the decision to dispose of the ship.
“Since Parkside is a high school, it would have been difficult to justify allocating funds to a children’s play area.”
Cameron said the school district “Certainly feels the loss along with the rest of the community.”
“The Parkside ship certainly carried many great memories for a lot of us who grew up here in Terrace,” she said.
A piece of Terrace history has disappeared after nearly 40 years of being docked at Parkside Secondary School.
The Parkside Princess has been removed and is now in storage until a new home is found.
In 2000, the ship avoided a trip to the dump and got a new coat of paint, some repairs and a couple of safety inspections, it was deemed safe again in the corner of the playground at Parkside, then known as Parkside Primary School.
The ship at that time was already 23 years old.
More than 100 comments in the last few days on Facebook have slammed the removal of the ship.