A playground truly for everybody

Public invited to grand opening of the only accessible playground on the North Island

COMOX VALLEY ECHO SEPTEMBER 7, 2010

A brand new universally accessible playground is about to open – and it has one of the best views in town. On Monday, September 13 at 5:30 pm, the public is invited to the grand opening of the Rotary Skypark on Mansfield Drive, right beside the scenic Courtenay Riverway.

Wendy Lewis from the Rotary Club of Strathcona Sunrise says the playground is designed to be accessible to everyone.

“A lot of care went into choosing the equipment for this park,” says Lewis. “From the individual stations to the rubber surface, people of all abilities will be able to play together.”

Lewis notes that the playground isn’t just for kids with mobility issues. “It may be a parent or caregiver with difficulty getting around at a traditional playground. The equipment itself will be fun for all kids.”

The park equipment includes a rotating net, arch swing, wheelchair accessible merry-go-round, see-saw, diggers and spinners. Due to its location just south of the Courtenay Airpark, the Rotary Skypark has an airplane theme, with an airplane climber, and a gazebo that kids can pretend is their very own air-traffic control tower.

A recycled rubber tire surface over the entire park ensures that everyone can get to each station, partially funded by a grant from Tire Stewardship BC.

Unlike traditional sand or bark mulch playground surfaces, this surface is wheelchair accessible. It can also be cleaned.

Randy Wiwchar, the City of Courtenay’s director of community services, notes the Skypark is the end result of months of planning and hard work.

“We really owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Rotary Club of Strathcona Sunrise,” notes Wiwchar. “Not only did they raise a tremendous amount of money, their members were out at the park every week digging holes, raking dirt, hauling equipment around. They really took this project under their wing. Wendy Lewis and Mike Collins from Rotary were instrumental in making this happen.”

The Comox Valley Community Foundation, other local Rotary clubs and the business community also made big contributions to the project.

“We saw dozens of local businesses donate literally thousands of dollars worth of money, time and materials,” states Lewis. “We can’t thank them enough for what they’ve helped accomplish.”

The grand opening festivities will be the first opportunity for the public to try out the equipment, as well as enjoy a hotdog and refreshments.

For more information, contact the City of Courtenay at 250-334-4441 or visit www.courtenay.ca

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