Seven playgrounds in Vancouver are in line to get a $4.5 million revamp, with a focus on “fun and challenging” play.
The Vancouver Park Board oversees 160 playgrounds across the city, and city officials say many of them need upgrades as they reach the end of their lifespans.
“We have a large park system that’s city wide,” said Tiina Mack, manager of park development with the park board.
“But we really see in the eastern and northern parts of our city [areas] where we have some aging facilities.”
The park board undertook a city-wide assessment of all the playgrounds in 2015, looking at things like age, condition and the potential for fun the parks have for people of all ages.
“It’s not only play value for the very young, but also for kids of older ages and maybe even for teenagers and adults,” Mack told CBC’s On The Coast.
“There’s nothing like a set of swings for someone of any age to have some fun.”
That’s part of what is behind the $4.5 million price tag: developing natural areas and gardens, protecting the trees in the area, adding additional amenities like seating and accessibility features.
“They become not only play spaces but social spaces,” she said.
The playgrounds slated for renewals are: Ash, Beaconsfield, Cedar Cottage, Charleson, Jones, Kaslo, and Winona parks. Construction is expected to start in the summer or early fall.
Two preschool play areas at Trout Lake and Thunderbird are also in the works. The park board is in conversations about upgrading the playgrounds at Champlain Heights Community Centre and Granville Park.
Replacing playgrounds is a priority for the city, the park board said in a written statement, and 17 playgrounds in Vancouver have been renovated since 2015.
Mack said play is crucial for kids to learn social skills and risk management and be active.
“Not only is it [good for] physical development but also cognitive development,” Mack said.
“We want kids to be able to be creative and use their imaginations.”