BROCKTON – The Optimist Park playground, located on the west side of the arena, is a delightful place for children with structures to swing on, climb on and slide down.
There are further plans to add accessible equipment so all children can enjoy playing there, but things have been on hold due to safety concerns regarding the slide.
At the Feb. 8 council meeting, staff proposed construction of a retaining wall and fence, at a cost of $35,000, to facilitate the recommended 12-foot safety zone from the slide. Council directed staff to come back with some options, including modifying the slide itself, to achieve the desired results at a lower cost.
Staff consulted with Power Play Canada, supplier of the Little Tykes play structure and components, and at the May 10 meeting Mark Coleman, director of community services, presented several options to council.
Option one, the one preferred by council, will see replacement of the lower sections of the four-foot-high slide so that it curves, resulting in most of the safety zone being inside the resilient surfacing. This would cost between $5,000 and $6,000 to rebuild a portion of the rubberized play surface, for a total cost of $10,000-$15,000.
Other options included building up the berm to provide an extra four feet of flat area, installing a metal rail or fence halfway down the slope next to the playground, proceeding with construction of the wall and fence, and doing nothing.
Coleman’s report indicated option one provided the most affordable solution that provides most of the recommended safety zone. There are supply chain issues that could delay the installation until October or even the spring of 2023.
Coun. Steve Adams wondered why the entire structure couldn’t be moved. Coleman noted the presence of the adjacent walkway and ditch.
Coun. Kym Hutcheon said she doesn’t want to see a fence constructed.
Coun. Tim Elphick made note of council’s responsibility “to a number of donors… we have an obligation to ensure we’re meeting industry standards.”
The consensus was that option one would be the best one.
Optimists hold fundraising barbecue
The local Optimist Club has done a lot of fundraising to ensure all children have access to a fully accessible playground next to the arena, and their efforts continue despite delays.
On May 20, the group will be holding a barbecue at Foodland, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (by donation), with proceeds going to phase two of the Walkerton Optimist Park.
Optimist member Valerie Austin said the group wants to move forward to the next phase of the park.
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