Pieces of a former playground lie uprooted at the site of the under-construction all-abilities park to be built at Centennial Park. (Tracy Holmes photo)

White Rock’s all-abilities park starts to take shape

Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo pitch in to help project spearheaded by firefighters, hospital foundation

White Rock’s all-abilities park is officially underway.

Ground was broken for the facility last month, and substantial completion is expected by mid-summer, officials with Peace Arch Hospital Foundation confirmed last week.

The project – a $900,000 effort involving PAHF, the City of White Rock and White Rock Fire Fighters Charitable Society, the latter of which has championed the concept since 2009 – is the first phase of a network of three play spaces designed to connect White Rock’s parks, according to PAHF’s website.

“People of all abilities from small children, youth, adults, seniors and those using personal assistive devices such as walkers and wheelchairs will have the freedom to use this pristine outdoor area, scheduled to open in 2018.”

The inclusive park is replacing the previous playground at the larger Ruth Johnson Park.

Safety fencing went up around the site a month ago, and work began on March 26. While the site was quiet during a visit late Friday morning, the park is anticipated to be largely ready by the end of July, PAHF officials say.

Of the $900,000 total cost, PAHF is raising $675,000 in collaboration with the firefighters’ charity association, and the city has confirmed a contribution of $225,000.

The Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo are among community groups and individuals determined to help.

Last week, SAS chair Alex Magnussen was celebrated by for his efforts working with PAHF to help secure $10,000 in funding for the park.

And on Monday, PAHF executive director Stephanie Beck and philanthropy officer Diana Pengelley paid a visit to Semiahmoo House to thank SAS for a further $2,000 targeted donation.

“We couldn’t do it without community members like you,” Beck told the advocates during the group’s afternoon meeting.

“You’re making a really big impact on our community by helping us provide this all-abilities, all-ages playground, which will be used for our community members for years to come.”

In discussing the park, SAS member Manjeet Ghangass said she appreciates knowing it will be there “down the road.”

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be benefiting my own life, but as long as it’s benefiting my partner’s life and my kids’ life, and others,” she said.

The funds presented Monday were raised through the group’s 2017 “New to You” clothing sale, which offers gently-worn treasures for $2 each, with proceeds each year benefiting causes and initiatives chosen by the group members.

The next edition of the sale is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 9, at Semiahmoo House (15306 24 Ave.). It will include a large donation of clothes from Silver Icing.

SAS members have not yet decided where the 2018 proceeds will go, SAS involvement co-ordinator Jill Glennie told Peace Arch News.

 

Tracy Holmes photo Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo present foundation with $2,000 for the park.

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