Students at EJ Dunn Elementary School celebrated their new playground with a special playmate on Friday, Oct. 18: Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser.
Parents, the Famply Hub, school district staff and community volunteers installed the new play equipment in September 2018, but even after almost a year of playing on it, students still hadn’t had an official opening, district principal of community development Stacey Manson said. On Friday, a school-wide barbecue was held and Fraser helped cut a ceremonial ribbon—but not before getting a little climbing time on the new equipment as well as the existing structure that had been installed years ago when EJ Dunn was still a middle school.
“I love playgrounds,” Fraser said. “Education is more than being in a classroom. You’ve got to have a good play space. It’s important. I would suggest it is for adults too.
“It’s good exercise; climbing around is a compelling thing. It always has been for me.”
Manson thanked Fraser and the provincial government for the $105,000 inclusive play equipment. “The PAC at EJ Dunn has fundraised and worked hard to help bring this project to reality,” she said.
“The PAC also worked with Theresa Kingston to gather ideas from students, staff and the community at a PLAY Day. The ideas gathered became a report that helped secure the provincial government funding.”
Fraser acknowledged the hard work of everyone who pulled together to make sure the school had an inclusive, age-appropriate play space. “A lot of people put a lot of time and effort into getting this playground,” he said. “It take a lot of bake sales to build something like this. A lot of bake sales.”
This is the third school to receive a provincial grant for playground equipment in the Mid Island-Pacific Rim riding, including École des grands-cédres francophone school in Port Alberni. Fraser attended an opening for that school a couple of weeks ago.