Students on the aging wooden playground, which is surrounded by a half-dozen heritage trees that must be considered in replacement efforts for the playground. (Jennifer Findlay photo)

Effort underway to replace aging White Rock Elementary playground

Parents, students striving to raise $70k for new play structure

Jen Findlay remembers, as a young student at White Rock Elementary, playing on the school’s wooden play structure during recess and lunch breaks.

Now, more than 25 years later, she’s among parents working to raise some $70,000 to replace it.

Findlay said the school district gave parents notice in September that the Fir Street school’s aging playground – located on the property’s west side – is to be removed by June 2019.

“I went to White Rock when I was in kindergarten and I’m 36, and that playground was there then, so it’s old – I played on it,” Findlay said.

Efforts undertaken so far have raised just over $17,000 for a new structure; TD Bank recently pitched in $1,000 to the cause.

Students at the school are also taking the playground project to heart.

A donation jar that was launched by Grade 1 students this month and started with just 15 cents collected more than $70 in its first week, said Findlay. As well, another student donated $100 from her own savings to bolster the fundraising pot.

Findlay noted that the parents’ fundraising has been on top of the $25,000 to $30,000 that the Parent Advisory Council raises every year to assist with sundry expenses at the school, including funds for families that can’t afford field-trip costs, extracurricular clubs and a school breakfast program.

She said a new tact in the playground quest has been to ask developers who are building in the area for support, as many who will move into the new developments will likely have children who will use the playground.

“It’s the only one kind of… in the core of White Rock,” Findlay explained. “So it gets used by the community, it’s not just the kids in the school.”

The other hope is that local businesses will recognize the value to the overall community and get involved, either with cash donations, or through donating to the school’s next big event: the spring carnival taking place on June 1. That event – set for 2:30-7 p.m., and featuring carnival games, raffle baskets, a silent auction and more – is open to the public, and typically raises around $5,000, Findlay said.

Findlay noted that a key reason behind the cost of the playground is the half-dozen heritage oak trees on the property. A chunk of the funds will be needed to ensure their root systems are not damaged, she said.

Anyone wanting to donate may contact Findlay at whiterockpac@gmail.com

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Parents at White Rock Elementary with representatives from TD Bank, who presented a $1,000 cheque towards funds to replace the aging wooden playground at the school. (Jennifer Findlay photo)

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