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Children in Maple Ridge townhouse complex fight to keep trampoline

Management company said it was a safety concern
Children at Brookside Gardens in Maple Ridge were hoping to keep a trampoline that was set up in a common area of the complex. (Special to The News)

Children in a Maple Ridge townhouse complex are upset that a trampoline they have been enjoying in a common area has been removed by the management company.

About 20 children at Brookside Gardens held a protest to voice their objection to CAPREIT’s decision to remove the trampoline.

They marched through the complex Saturday, Sept. 10, holding signs that read, “Please don’t take our fun away. We love our trampoline”, “The trampoline is a safe place to play. We’re not climbing trees. We’re not down by the creek. We are not walking the street. We’re having fun”, and “When we’re on the trampoline our mom and dads can see us. We are safe. By the river we are not safe. There is no fence or parent watching us”.

This was after residents of the complex received a letter from the company advising them that all personal items were to be removed from common areas of the property, and must be stored, “within the confines on your rental suite”.

However, despite their best efforts, the trampoline was removed, Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Rick Alexander, who lives in the complex can’t understand why.

About a year ago, he explained, he set up a trampoline in the same area. It lasted all summer and then one day it disappeared. This latest trampoline was set up by his neighbour, Joe Lazzano, who he said, was initially going to set it up in his own backyard, but it didn’t fit.

Alexander was dismayed that the company felt the trampoline – about 12 feet in diametre surrounded by a net – was a liability. He noted there is a tree around 10 feet tall in the same common area that the children climbed and sat in when the trampoline was not around.

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“That’s a liability,” he said. “A tree is a liability. If they fall out of that tree, that’s a liability.”

He also noted that there is a creek that runs behind the complex where the children often go to play. He claimed that the creek area is a liability as well, and the company should install fencing preventing the children from gathering there.

“The trampoline is not a liability. It’s a fun thing for the kids,” he said.

Lazzano asked the difference between children riding their bicycles around the complex and the trampoline.

“What’s the difference if they fall off their bike or if they fall off the trampoline,” he asked, adding that it is impossible for a child to fall off the trampoline because it has a safety net. And, he said, not many cars drive through the complex.

Danny Roth, a spokesperson for CAPREIT, released a statement from the company that said the decision to request the removal of the trampoline was made out of abundance of caution and concern for the safety of resident – of all ages.

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“In both written and verbal communications with residents we explained that the play structure’s location- on a small piece of land at the centre of the community’s main driveway- presented an obvious and concerning safety hazard,” he said, adding that the trampoline could be relocated to a lawn in the front of a residential unit.

Lazzano said the trampoline won’t fit on a front lawn.

“We don’t have a front lawn to put it on. The front is too small to put it on the lawn in front of our place and then we share it with the neighbours and there are pots and plants and barbecues out here,” he said.

Roth confirmed that the structure had been removed and said that the company remains hopeful that a more suitable location can be found, “which encourages safe play for our youngest community members”.

“We will continue to work with residents to find a more appropriate location for this structure.”

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Children at Brookside Gardens in Maple Ridge were hoping to keep a trampoline that was set up in a common area of the complex. (Special to The News)

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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