Benefit cooks up support for Copley Park playground

Event raises more than $6,000 for playground torched by arsonist last year

Arson was the cause of a fire that destroyed the Copley Park playground last July.

There’s a new playground on the way at Copley Park, and it will be even better than the last one.

Saturday’s Eggs Benefit in the parking lot of the Saanich Baptist Church on Wilkinson raised $6,100 and fed over 500 people, bringing close to 650 to the site, including 70 volunteers.

“We had representation from the community, with Saanich Fire and Police on site along with Kool FM, and of course, our celebrity chefs,” said organizer Rick Boomer, a pastor with the church.

Cooking were Mayor Richard Atwell, Saanich Police chief Bob Downie, deputy fire chief Stephen Hanna, Saanich South MLA Lana Popham, Saanich parks manager Eva Riccius and Grey Cup champion and Reynolds grad Brian Ramsay.

“It was a great day that started off with a personal donation of $1,000 from a senior in the community,” Boomer said.

Last summer the playground in Copley Park was burned to the ground by arson. A new non-flammable park was since ordered to replace the burned one as there’s no insurance for such incidents, said Saanich parks and recreation planner Garry Darrah.

The money from the Eggs Benefit fundraiser will go to additional community features such as picnic tables, though it will ultimately be up to the community group donating the funds.

“The playground funds come from our 2016 Saanich budget and were approved by council earlier this year,” Darrah said. “When we renovated Emily Carr Park we consulted with the community, and the Broadmead Residents Association wanted to contribute $6,000 especially for new picnic tables.”

Installation of the new playground was slated to start this week. It’s a different style, based on feedback parks and rec received from youth, and will include a bouldering feature.

“We’re trying to incorporate more play elements that appeal to older kids,” Darrah said.

Saanich Parks is also upgrading Tolmie Park this year.

 

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