Howay to get $50,000 from province to fix school playground
When Education Minister George Abbott came to F.W. Howay elementary on Thursday morning to announce $50,000 in funding for the school's playground, parent Joanne Sabinin was ready to go shopping.
For several years, Sabinin, Kelli Earle and many others parents at the New Westminster school have been pushing for funds to fix up its deteriorating playground. It has structural damage and safety issues that need to be dealt with.
When asked what the money could buy, Sabinin excitedly replied, "We're going to find out. I've got all the catalogues at home and I'm going to find out what we can get. That's our focus."
Earle said the parents have been chipping away slowly raising funds here and there.
"It's really hard when you've only got 140 children in the school," said Earle. "It's fabulous. We didn't think it would ever come."
The money was part of $3.3 million in funding Abbott announced for 80 school playgrounds throughout the province, including $25,000 for Queen Elizabeth elementary in Queensborough.
"Our playground hasn't been paid attention to for a long time," said new district parent advisory council chair Rob Peregoodoff, a Queen Elizabeth parent. "It's in need of a facelift and $25,000 will go a long way to making that happen, and bring some pride into the community."
Board of education chair James Janzen gave credit to the parent councils of both schools for fighting to fund refurbishing the playgrounds.
"They are expensive," said Janzen. "They are assets not only for the school community, but the whole community. It's a great thing not only for the school district but the city as well."
New West was one of the few districts to get two grants. Even much larger school districts like Surrey, Vancouver, Coquitlam and Burnaby only had one school each receive funding.
Abbott said the money was the final phase of an $8 million playground funding commitment the province made last September.
"I played on them as a child. I loved them as I grew up. Now I go out with my grandson to the playground. It's his favourite thing to do with grandpa," said Abbott.
"We know and research shows that healthy young people are able to learn more effectively, and if those young learners are also having fun while they exercise it's a win-win for everyone."