Ken Shaw, president of Transition Prince Rupert, stands on Mckay Street Park ground before Community Build Day. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Forty volunteers to help build Mckay Street Park this week

After winning the BCAA Play Here contest, Transition Prince Rupert is ready to install a playground

Transition Prince Rupert was looking for 30 volunteers and they have 40 signed up to take part in Community Build Day for Mckay Street Park.

Last June, the project won enough votes in the BCAA Play Here contest to win $100,000 to revitalize the park. Since then, president of Transition Prince Rupert, Ken Shaw, said they have looked at different designs for the playground and settled on one that would be suitable for North Coast weather.

“There’s been a lot of worksite preparation. We’ve cleared alder trees. The old baseball diamond and the fence was removed,” Shaw said.

READ MORE: Mckay Street Park ready to start playground construction

The area has also been leveled for the playground that will arrive this week. On April 7, the group of 40 volunteers will help assemble the equipment and spread the pile of wood chips around the play area.

On Saturday, they will pour the concrete and set the posts. Following the installation, there are a couple of willing volunteers who will watch over the site for 12 hours.

“It’s really important that it solidifies and there’s nobody playing on the equipment too early, or any vandalism, so a few people are going to spend the night here and watch over the place. We have volunteers for that. You can always drop by and bring them coffee,” Shaw said.

Some residents have questioned why volunteer and in-kind labour is allowed for Mckay Street Park, when labour for Mariners Park had to be covered by several partners, and the Lions Club had to fundraise for approximately $20,000 to pay for unexpected scaffolding labour and materials.

READ MORE: Tick tock, the tot park waits for city approval

City manager Robert Long said in an emailed statement: “Because we are in a labour contract with CUPE Local 105, when volunteers wish to work on any city assets, it is our practice to request the support of the union. There are a series of legal and safety requirements that must be met prior to city management forwarding a request on to the union.”

Mckay Street Park preparation work was done at no expense by city approved and insured contractors and the volunteers on Saturday will be overseen by insured contractors.

Once the playground has been installed, Transition Prince Rupert is applying for more funding to continue with the next phase of the park, installing the dog park and doing the landscaping.

For dog owners who once used the Doug Kerr Field to run their pets, the new fenced-in dog park is expected to be ready by the fall.

“The original design for the Mckay Street Park includes a linear dog park. The idea is that it will run alongside the playground and the upper side of the hill there. They will have a nice long park that’s fenced where dogs can run,” Shaw said.

Funding for the first phase of the Mckay Street Park is BCAA Play Here, Marcan Construction, Storey’s Excavating, Citywest, Raymont Logistics, Lax Moon Builders, DP World, Pinnacle Pellet, Prince Rupert Early Years, City of Prince Rupert, Rupert Lawn and Garden, and community supporters who donated through the Gofundme page.

In-kind support for the playground installaltion came from the Port of Prince Rupert, DP World, Redesign Rupert, Northern Savings Credit Union, Kaien Anti Poverty Society, Rupert Wood and Steel, and the Northwest Community College for all of your in-kind and financial support for the Mckay Street project design process.

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Transition Prince Rupert did end up having to pay the contractors for some of the clearing work, which was why they had to do some last minute fundraising. A portion of the labour paid for and the rest was volunteer. The society had to pay to have the baseball diamond fencing removed, which wasn’t part of the original volunteer agreement with the contractor.

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