After planning, fundraising, voting and celebrating, the City of Prince Rupert finally broke ground on the new Mckay Street Park.
Approximately 40 volunteers met at the work site on April 7, put on their helmets, boots and gloves and got to work creating a space where kids will play and the community will gather for years to come.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Shelly Starr, ambassador for Mckay Street Park. “We are happy to create a safe play area where community children can play.”
The volunteers were divided into groups and assigned tasks at 8 a.m., and then the collaborative construction project began in earnest. Before long, the park was filled with the sounds of saws cutting through wood, drill twisting screws into place and the steady hum of workers discussing how to best accomplish their next jobs.
“This is kinda what the point of this park was,” said Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain, who was helping a group to position logs around the edge of the playground. “To show people that you can go from an idea, to a concept, to action, to getting things done by working together.”
In addition to creating a general play area in the middle of the park, there are swings and a jungle gym complete with two slides. By the time the group wrapped up their day, the space was transformed from the abandoned lot it had been before.
Transition Prince Rupert president Ken Shaw said helping to revitalize Mckay Street Park was just as impactful for the volunteers as it will be for the kids who get to play there.
“How often do you get to build a park together?” said Ken Shaw, president of Transition Prince Rupert. “This place will always be special to everyone that was here today.”
Representatives from BCAA were also present on site to show support for the project. Prince Rupert won $100,000 in the BCAA Play Here contest in June 2017 to help fund the early stages of the park’s development. Shawn Pettipas, director of community engagement with BCAA, said the Mckay Street Park projects was one of the more meaningful ones he had been a part of because the space was so underutilized before.
“Community is at the heart of what we do,” he said. “When kids have safe places in their communities to play, they grow in a more fulfilled way, so we’re proud to be able to contribute to it.”