COMMUNITY PLAYGROUND AT QAYQAYT (“KUH-KITE”)
Created September 29, 2013 by Qayqayt Community Playground Committee (Ronda Field)
LocationAgnes and Merrivale, New Westminster
Funding Level$50k - $100k (< 2014)
Community SizeMore than 1,000
well being environment
“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” Fred Rogers
After 85 years of educating students in New Westminster, École John Robson Community School will be torn down to make way for a new middle school. As a result, Robson's ~500 French and English stream students will relocate in Fall 2014 to Qayqayt Community School, currently being built on a small, hilly site 1 km away. However there is no funding for new playground equipment at Qayqayt and existing equipment is not suitable for relocation.
Serving grades K through 5, Qayqayt will be located in the heart of downtown. This rapidly growing neighbourhood is home to almost 10,000 people, with many high-rise residential projects under construction or in the planning stages. Over 98% of the residents in this area live in multi-unit dwellings with limited outdoor space. There are very few public parks, green spaces or natural landscapes downtown, and no nearby playgrounds. The ratio of public park space to people in the downtown core is less than 25% of the provincial average. Hilly terrain and busy roads make it very difficult to walk to parks in other areas of the city. Qayqayt will function as a central meeting place and play area for inner-city residents and families to enjoy. The playground will be used by over 500 children per day during school hours, and many more after hours.
Core values of the Community School model include Physical Activity, Health & Wellness, Community Engagement and Arts & Exploration. The Qayqayt Community Playground vision is for a natural themed playground with barrier-free and adventure elements to stimulate each of these core values, while reflecting the heritage of our community. We aim to provide equipment that encourages interaction on multiple levels both for children at Qayqayt and the community-at-large.
Playgrounds are the places where most kids meet their very first friends... except for those children whose physical abilities simply limit their entry into those spaces. All classrooms in New Westminster schools practice inclusion and integration regardless of ability. However, this practice often ends at the playground boundary. The Robson PAC is working together with the Qayqayt Design-Build Team to develop the new playground. Our vision is to provide inclusive play equipment that fosters the development of children of all abilities. We want to build playgrounds that are filled with challenging, engaging and interactive equipment so that every child will have fun and be able to play with ALL of their friends!
The new school design includes two distinct but compact play areas located in the hilly terrain. The ± 1100 square foot playground at the lower portion of the site is designated for younger children, while the ±1000 square foot playground slightly uphill will be used by older children. Our goal at the lower playground, accessible by wheelchairs and strollers, is to include wheelchair transfer stations, sensory activity panels and other equipment to engage children of all abilities. At the upper playground, the steep terrain provides opportunities to utilize natural landscape features to encourage exciting, adventurous, and challenging equipment to support children’s exploration, learning, and play.
The cost of this dream is approximately $211,000, including consultation, construction, purchase and installation. The doors of this school are scheduled to open in September 2014 so timelines are tight! We need to secure funding as soon as possible to ensure the cost of equipment installation can be included in the current construction contract. If the installation is delayed, the cost may not be covered which will result in escalating expenses.
We are asking for your support! Please choose the “COMMUNITY PLAYGROUND AT QAYQAYT” and help make our dream a reality!
…let the children play…
“In neighborhoods without a usable park or playground, the incidence of childhood obesity increases by 29 percent.” Darell Hammond