Independents Working For You council candidates are committing to providing more funding for school playgrounds.
In a press release issued earlier this week, incumbent councillor Jeannie Kanakos said she and her running mates are committed to easing the burden placed on parent advisory committees to raise significant amounts of money in order to replace aging playground structures at Delta schools.
Currently, the City of Delta provides up to $35,000 or $45,000 (depending on the kind of playground) through its Community Initiated Cost Share Program to match up to 50 per cent of the cost of new playgrounds, leaving it up to the PACs to raise the rest of the funds.
However, the press release says, over the past decade playgrounds costs have risen and can now range from $60,000 to $100,000. PACs are required to engage in many years of “intense” fundraising to come up with their (often more than) half of the money, while also having to raise funds to cover school supplies and field trips.
“The burden for fundraising is too much for parent advisory councils and, if elected, we are committed to increasing funding for school playgrounds by the City of Delta,” Kanakos said in the press release. “We will also assist with securing more funding from the private sector for all our playgrounds.”
Sandeep Pandher, also running for council under the Independents Working For You banner, said his family was one of many who contributed to the new playground at Sunshine Hills Elementary that opened last month.
“This was a tough journey for the both the parents and the teachers at the school,” Pandher said in the press release. “Playgrounds are used by all of the community and more help on securing funding for future playgrounds is needed from the City of Delta.”
According to the press release, Kanakos, Pandher and their running mates Bruce McDonald, Garry Shearer and mayoral candidate Jim Cessford, have put a priority on having a healthy community and see playgrounds as an integral part of a safe, healthy and happy Delta.
“Based on our discussions with the community, we have heard from parents that there is a need for help with fundraising for the construction of playgrounds from the City of Delta,” Kanakos said.
“Our slate agrees that school playgrounds are the heart of our community and are where children and adults gather for exercise and fun,” Pandher added. “We need to collaborate with our school district to find solutions that meet the needs of our community.”
In related news, current school trustee and incumbent Independents Working for You trustee candidate Nick Kanakos tabled a notice of motion at the Oct. 9 school board meeting to have district staff look into different options for playground replacement strategies in order to take the burden away from parents.
These could include soliciting private and corporate donations, or creating a new partnership between the district and the city.
The motion was passed unanimously.
The civic election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20.