Thank you to everyone who has contributed to improving Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground and June Rowlands Park. Whether you were able to participate by attending Tuesday night’s meeting, or took the time to share your feedback through email, I appreciate all of the thoughtful insight comments and ideas on how we can make our community park even better! As you may recall, a few years ago, I named our playground in honour of Sharon, Lois & Bram to celebrate the beloved children’s music trio and created the Music Garden as part of that celebration of their legacy and our community. There have been several improvements to the playground including: replacing the concrete stage with a wooden surface, adding a black gate to provide definition around the garden, a harvest table for gatherings and birthday parties, a community garden and several other features that I’m confident that you’ll enjoy.
We certainly heard different opinions of what the vision for the Park should be. However, I respect how people at the meeting actively listened to each other to ensure that as many viewpoints as possible could be reflected in the park design.
Although there has been a community consultation process, including a public meeting that lead to what has been constructed so far, the decision to reengage the community about the playground improvements was the result of feedback I had heard after the play structure was completed late last year. While I have heard positive comments from parents about how their children are enjoying the new structure, I also heard valid concerns centered around safety and that there was a lack of equipment geared towards younger children.
The City Parks Staff I invited to be in attendance at the meeting have presented creative and feasible additions for both this upcoming spring season, and for 2019, based on the feedback we’ve provided.
Here’s the summary of what was discussed at the meeting and what was resolved by consensus on how to move forward together.
For this Spring 2018
- The City has available play equipment in storage that will provide more options for toddlers in the interim, until they will be replaced by Earthscape equipment in 2019. Given the restriction on the play area space by mature trees, they were able to find several pieces that could be installed temporarily for this spring/summer season. This includes two spring toys and an elephant monkey bar set (see images below)
- City staff will also construct new permanent toddler-friendly pieces including:
- an elevated Alpine hut with steps and another small slide
- An outdoor kitchen that will be placed in the sandbox
**Note, City Staff are able to apply a more earth tone paint colour to fit in with the other equipment
- We reengaged Earthscape and they have provided retrofits and additions that can be implemented in the existing space for next year. The elephant monkey bars and spring toys would be removed (alpine hut and kitchen remain), and would be replaced by:
- A Climbing Net to provide easier access to tower platform and slide.
- Additional hand-holds/ grab bars at tower platform entryway.
- Post and Rope underneath existing horizontal logs
- Climbing Hoops to be placed underneath existing horizontal logs.
- Playground Sign explain the benefits of ‘Risk Play’.
- I have attached PDF renderings that were shown at the meeting of Earthscape’s proposal
** There were also a number of creative ideas about additional retrofits to the structure that we will be consulting Earthscape about. When Earthscape provides us updated renderings and designs for additional retrofits and improvements, I plan to host a third meeting to further consult with the community. I will be certain to update you when details of the time, date and location have been secured.
Given the diversity of views amongst community members about what the playground design should look like, I’ve worked hard to ensure that these retrofits and additions serve to address as much feedback as possible that we’ve received about the play equipment. Ultimately, we all want our children to have an amazing place to play, and that all users feel included. Let’s continue working together as a community.
Melissa, Molly and I hope to see you and your family at Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground soon!