North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice is celebrating the opening of a new, accessible playground at Bella Coola Elementary School.
“This new accessible playground is a great addition to Bella Coola Elementary and the larger school community,” said MLA Rice. “The previous BC Liberal government chose to put the burden of fundraising for school playgrounds on parents. I’m proud that we’re making different choices, and stepping in to ensure that all kids have a safe and engaging place to play.”
The playground equipment program provides annual funding for playgrounds at public schools throughout the province. The program was launched in May 2018 by Minister of Education Rob Fleming to relieve the fundraising burden for parents. Since then $10 million has been invested in 101 new playgrounds, benefitting about 25,000 B.C. children.
Made possible through the Playground Equipment Program (PEP), the funding for new or accessible playgrounds is part of the Province’s commitment to update aging infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe, enjoyable and accessible learning environments that set children up for success. Bella Coola Elementary received $105,000 to build a universally accessible playground.
Playgrounds help promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles, encourage children to share, develop conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges, and help students learn more effectively in the classroom. Previously, parents were expected to fundraise tens of thousands of dollars to replace and upgrade school playground equipment. The PEP helps ensure equality among children attending schools with different financial resources and fundraising capacity.
Every school district in BC has now received at least one new playground. School districts in BC have the opportunity to apply for the funding by sending a list of priorities in their capital plan submissions in June of each year.