At long last, Torquay elementary is getting its new playground, with the final designs ready to go and installation scheduled for the end of October.
Students at the Gordon Head school have waited patiently since their last playground was torn down 10 months ago for safety reasons. Now, following their $100,000 grand prize win in the BCAA Play Here contest, they’ll see brand new playground equipment installed on the school grounds on Oct. 28 and 29.
“We had polled our kids and parents and got their feedback on features they’d like to see,” said principal Cindy Harte of the final design. “Then we met with Habitat Systems and BCAA and our district, and they went to the drawing board.
“They worked through five or six different designs and brought two final designs back to the school. We had students and parents decide on the final two, and it was a really clear winner.”
Prior to the contest, the school PAC had raised about $27,000, but with a basic playground starting around $60,000, the BCAA contest was a much-needed financial boost, allowing the children’s imaginations to design a bigger and better playground than before.
The design has two slides, a climbing wall, tight rope, fire pole, monkey bars, a zipline and one feature that puts a new spin on merry-go-rounds.
“There’s something called Global Motion,” said Harte. “It’s a big globe and it spins in a controlled way. It allows kids to get inside or climb on the outside.
“It’s a really unique design and it’s going to be the only one in British Columbia.”
Harte said she’s been pleasantly surprised with how quickly the design came together, and that the students are excited to finally have a new playground in a few short weeks.
“They are going to be over the top,” she said. “They’ve seen it on paper, but the reality of it when it goes in, I think they’ll be quite surprised come Monday morning when they arrive at school.”
Harte also thanked the community – which cast more than 125,000 votes in the BCAA Play Here contest – for making it possible for Torquay to have such an amazing, new playground.
“The community involvement and the support we had as a school, but also beyond our little parameter here – it just really pulled the whole community together,” she said. “We felt that for Lillooet as well, and in the end, it’s so awesome that we were both able to get the big grand prize. It’s a happy story all around.”