Torquay looks online to find financial boost for playground

Gordon Head school among five finalists in BCAA's Play Here contest which offers a new playground worth up to $100,000

Torquay Elementary students Jayda Douillard

Torquay Elementary students Jayda Douillard

They’ve tried spring fairs and donation drives to raise money for a new playground, and now Torquay elementary is asking the community for votes in a contest that could give them a real financial boost.

The Gordon Head school is among five finalists in BCAA’s Play Here contest, which looks to provide one finalist with a new playground worth up to $100,000. The contest runs for the month of June, allowing one vote per day per person, and the finalist with the most votes will receive the grand prize.

The other finalists include General Brock Elementary in Vancouver, Windsor Elementary in Burnaby, the Crawford Bay Community Park and the Lillooet Rec Centre.

“We’ve been battling with Lillooet since it started yesterday morning,” said Jasmine Haere, a parent at Torquay elementary. “It’s still anyone’s game – we have a whole month of voting, so we want to keep up our momentum and get the word out.

“We have a new slogan – it’s ‘Vote Everyday for Torquay.’”

Last year, Torquay’s parent advisory council received a letter from the Greater Victoria school district, saying the aging playground would be removed in the near future. In the last three years, the PAC has raised about $27,000 for a new playground, but their original price estimate of $50,000 has further increased the funding gap.

“There were things that we didn’t take into consideration before,” said Haere. “We have to pay the school board to install it and it can vary to as high as 50 per cent of the playground cost.”

The playground was torn down earlier this year, leaving behind a barren spot with only wood chips and rubber tires.

While the students were dejected by the playground’s removal, Haere said they see the contest as an exciting opportunity to revitalize their school’s play area with slides, tunnels, monkey bars and more.

“We had a kickoff at the front of the school – we had balloons and music pumping and bubbles,” said Haere. “They were handing out flyers, just making sure that all of our parent community knew.

“A little girl next door was going door to door with her dad, making sure all the neighbours knew to vote for us. Her dad couldn’t believe how excited she was about it.”

Haere said the school has already received support from the Mt. Douglas Market and Crash, the KISS 103.1 afternoon host, in publicizing the contest, and they’re hoping more members of the community will log on and vote for Torquay.

Voting is open until June 29, with the winner being announced July 11. Residents 18 and older can vote online at bcaaplayhere.com by selecting the Torquay elementary listing and clicking “Vote for This Space.”

For more information about the contest, visit bcaaplayhere.com.

 

jacob.zinn@saanichnews.com