Three Saanich parks are trying out a new initiative that aims to encourage physical activity for children.
The district’s parks and recreation department has set up playboxes at Rudd, Rutledge and McMinn parks, containing a variety of fun play equipment for the public to use for free.
“We know that when children are free to play, they thrive,” said Coun. Susan Brice in a release. “Play and physical activity is vital to their development and essential to good mental health.
“We wish to see our children and youth engaged in unstructured play in Saanich Parks. This is an exciting project which allows anyone to enjoy our parks and physical activity at no cost.”
According to the district, regular outdoor activity provides such benefits as better physical and emotional health, higher performance in school and enhanced leadership skills. The initiative mirrors one from Abbotsford, which aimed to strengthen the development of children.
The boxes are locked and require users to access a unique code through Saanich’s RecOnline service to use the equipment, using their smartphone or other device. Alternatively, users can call one of the district’s four recreation centres – Cedar Hill, Gordon Head, Pearkes or Saanich Commonwealth Place – to obtain the codes.
Based on the success of the Abbotsford initiative, Saanich has determined the risks of vandalism, theft or damage to be minimal and will work with local neighbourhoods to monitor the project.
The playboxes are located at Rudd Park (3258 Irma St.), Rutledge Park (901 Inverness Rd.) and McMinn Park (4820 Maplegrove St.).
For more information, visit saanich.ca/parkrec/recreation.