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École Roosevelt unveils new state-of-the-art playground

The half-million dollar project was 10 years in the making
Students enjoy the new playground at École Roosevelt Park Community School following the park’s official opening Nov. 1.

It’s been nearly 10 years since the Parent Action Committee from École Roosevelt Park Community School set its sights on bringing a new accessible playground to the schoolyard.

Now their sights are set squarely on the children enjoying the brand-new state-of-the-art playground unveiled officially last week.

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 1, Alexander Campbell (gitxoon), an Elder and hereditary chief who teaches the Ts’msyen language at the school, blessed the playground and offered sentiments of inclusiveness.

“We are here to celebrate this beautiful playground,” he said. “Not only for Indigenous, but for all of us here. I say that each one of you, all people, are welcome to this land to play together, to know each other.”

Sonny Henry, an Indigenous Family Support Worker at the school also shared

I went to school here when I was a kid, and there was a swing there and a monkey bars over there,” he said. “And to be able to work here at Roosevelt and see all these awesome kids and to work with such an amazing staff, it’s beautiful community that we’re working here.

“I just want to say to the kids, enjoy this. Enjoy this park and take care of it. It’s gonna be here for a long time.”

Over the years, the PAC raised $36,700 toward the construction, and while it was a long time in the making, once the major funding started to roll in last year the whole project took just about a year to complete.

It started with the provincial ministry of education earmarking $165,000 for a new playground. With that as leverage, the school enlisted former teacher Cora Barak (now a vice principal at another school) and experienced grant-writer, to help with fundraising.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority came through with $220,000 and Tire Stewardship BC kicked in another $30,000.

School District 52 contributed roughly $45,000, mainly with in-kind donations such as labour.

Trigon (formerly Ridley Terminals), DP World and Northern Savings Credit Union also kicked in to round out the roughly half-a-million dollar budget of the project.

Karianne Pohl, speaking on behalf of the PAC, thanked all of the donors.

“And we need to thank all the past parents and students of Roosevelt that were fundraising for a lot of years for this park,” she said. And so we want to acknowledge the hard work of those parents and students, and all of you for participating in a lot of our fundraisers that we’ve done. We really do appreciate everybody’s effort, so that we can have this beautiful park.”

Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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