A presentation of funds raised by the White Rock Rotary Club has signalled that new playground equipment at Peace Arch Elementary is waiting only for installation to become a reality.
In a socially-distanced Sept. 23 ceremony in the school gym, playground improvement project chairs (and former club presidents) Raj Rajogopal and Jack Rae, along with fundraiser Gordy Sangha, handed over a cheque for $63,000 to outgoing Parent Advisory Council president Jennifer Watson and playground committee chair Sean Halliburton.
Rajogopal said the funding ensures that the second phase of the playground improvement will be going ahead, installing equipment already approved by Surrey School District.
Among those attending the ceremony were the school’s new principal, Laureen Boulet, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker (representing the City of White Rock’s partnership in the project), past club president Mauricio Browne de Paula, club treasurer Rheanna Sidhu, and club fundraiser George Garrett, along with community fundraisers Kristen Fryer and Moti Bali.
Also present was Tom Miller, representing the Labourers International Union of North America Local 1611 who confirmed that, in co-ordination with International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 and B & B Contracting, installation work will be completed at significant saving in materials and labour to the project.
“Any chance we have to give back, we want to do that,” Miller said.
Browne de Paula and Sidhu said that the overall playground improvement project – which also includes fundraising for new playground equipment for White Rock Elementary – was initiated last year, in line with Browne de Paula’s desire to create a special project that would benefit the local community during his term in office.
Despite extensive fundraising, PACS at both schools were facing a total shortfall of some $150,000 for upgraded playgrounds when the fundraising project – which included last year’s inaugural Great Turkey Run/Walk event – was launched.
Rae and Rajogopal told Peace Arch News, following the presentation, that while final costs and technical aspects of the Peace Arch Elementary side of the project had come together sooner, the White Rock playground upgrade will likely be moving ahead this fall as well.
Boulet said that an upgrade to current playground equipment is vital in ensuring that exercise and getting out in the fresh air is a component of the curriculum.
“Our students spend around 120 hours of the school year in the playgrounds,” she noted.