MAPLE RIDGE – New Democrat MLAs Bob D’Eith and Lisa Beare say students at Davie Jones Elementary and Webster’s Corners Elementary will soon be playing on new accessible playgrounds, thanks to $330,000 in provincial funding, along with over $1.4 million in funding for school upgrades and new buses for the district.
“One of the things this pandemic has taught us is how important it is to make sure kids get outside and play,” said Bob D’Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “Our government is delivering for kids by committing to these accessible playgrounds, along with energy efficient upgrades to multiple schools across the province.”
This year, New Democrats are doubling the annual investment to $10 million to deliver 60 new playgrounds in 50 school districts. The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district (#42) received $165,000 for each new accessible playground, up $40,000 from previous years. This increase will allow the playgrounds to be designed with accessible features like ground cover, ramps and/or transfer platforms that connect to the play structure – to ensure there’s a place for all students to play. The playgrounds will be built over the next year and are expected to be ready for kids to play on by early 2022.
“Kids have had a tough year, too. As we look forward to a return to more normal social contact, including full and lively playgrounds in the years to come, we want all children to be able to participate,” Said Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. “This funding will continue the work the BC NDP is doing to make sure that school playgrounds are as accessible as possible, so all can enjoy.”
Playgrounds help kids stay active outdoors while learning to share, build conflict resolution skills and overcome challenges. Playing outside reduces anxiety and improves focus, helping kids to learn in the classroom.
This funding comes from the Playground Equipment Program (PEP), created in 2018 to reduce the burden of fundraising on parents and help communities buy the playground equipment students need. Since 2018, the New Democrat government has invested $25 million to fund 201 new playgrounds at schools throughout the province, benefiting more than 49,000 students.
Students will also benefit from upgraded and more energy-efficient learning environments, with $240.5 million in school maintenance grants distributed across the province this year. The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district (#42) received $1,465,250 this year for projects which include:
- Exterior wall systems upgrade at Harry Hooge Elementary
- Interior renovations, including washroom upgrades, at Glenwood Elementary
- HVAC upgrades at Garibaldi Secondary
Annual facilities maintenance grants have also supported school districts to plan and budget for upgrades and maintenance to school ventilation as students return to class. These investments are a part of the province’s commitment to update infrastructure in B.C. schools to provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible learning environments. The New Democrat government has delivered historic levels of funding to B.C. schools, including $1.2 billion for new and improved schools for B.C. students in Budget 2021.