LETTERS: Playground accessibility a work in progress, says education minister

Rob Fleming responds to criticism from Surrey South Liberal MLA Cadieux

Editor:

I read with curiosity a recent Peace Arch News article on school playground funding.

It’s interesting that Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux is so critical of the New Democrat government’s school playground fund. Cadieux, a former cabinet minister in the BC Liberal government, did absolutely nothing to ensure kids have accessible playgrounds at school.

While Cadieux was a Cabinet minister she had the ability to influence policy decisions. In that time, she did not help to deliver a single accessible playground. The former government’s preference was to leave the entire burden on parents to fundraise huge sums of money to try and build safe and modern school playgrounds.

Where was her advocacy then?

When I heard from parents that they faced impossible fundraising burdens to provide their children’s schools with something as fundamental as playground equipment, our government listened. Our government immediately created an annual $5 million playground equipment program.

To date, we’ve invested $10 million to build 101 new playgrounds throughout the province, already benefiting more than 25,000 children. More than half of those playgrounds are built with accessible equipment.

We’re not done yet. Next year, all school districts who receive funding under the program will be required to build accessible playgrounds and we are currently reviewing the total amount given for each playground.

I am proud that we are making life better for kids through the improved playgrounds we’ve delivered on.

Our government will continue to work to make sure new playgrounds at B.C.’s schools are universally accessible, so all kids have the opportunity to enjoy them.

Rob Fleming, Minister of Education

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