Students in Maple Ridge are set to receive a new accessible playground thanks to $125,000 from the province.
On Sunday, Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, announced Maple Ridge Elementary is the latest recipient of funding from the government’s Playground Equipment Program (PEP), which provides up $5 million each year to school districts to purchase new or replacement playgrounds.
This year 40 schools in the province are receiving $125,000 each towards “a new, universally-accessible playground – a $25,000 increase for each playground from last year’s investment.”
“Giving our kids a chance to play actively outdoors has never been more important,” said Beare. “I’m so glad this new playground will be inclusive and accessible for all students.”
The PEP was first launched in 2018, since then the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District has received funding for playgrounds at Highland Park Elementary and Glenwood Elementary.
Every school district in the province has now received at least one new playground since the launch of the program, according to the province.
The government has invested $15 million to provide 141 new playgrounds to schools throughout the province, benefiting over 35,000 students since the program launched three years ago, the province reports.
Rob Fleming, Minister of Education, said these investments by the province relieves parents from fundraising for playground equipment.
“Now more than ever, outdoor play is incredibly important for our kids. I’m proud that students throughout the province have access to the outdoors on safe, accessible and modern playground equipment thanks to these investments,” he said. “The PEP relieves parents of the burden of fundraising for playground equipment, so they can focus on their kids.”
School district are required to apply for the funding by sending a list of priorities in their capital plan submissions in June of each year. Playgrounds are funded based on greatest need.
Districts that did not receive funding this year must reapply to be considered the following year.