The City of Port Alberni has removed play structures at three of its parks for safety reasons.
Parents noticed earlier in June that the play structures at 11th Avenue Park, River Road Park and Kiwanis Park in the 3600-block of 16th Avenue have all been removed. City playgrounds only reopened to the public on June 10 after being closed for several weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The structures no longer met safety standards, said Willa Thorpe, the city’s director of Parks, Recreation and Heritage. Play structures are inspected monthly and annually.
“Those playgrounds were decades and decades old,” she added. “We’ve been able to retain a few swing sets, but the play structures themselves have been removed.”
Thorpe is developing a master parks plan that will examine what parks and playgrounds will look like in the future, as a whole. “The plan will include everything from green spaces right through to playgrounds as well,” she explained. Once the preliminary plan is drawn, Thorpe will pass it on to city council for review.
“The benefit is when we’ve got a master plan the community will be able to keep up with it. This way we can be proactive and determine what we want the future to look like,” she added.
There is no timeline to replace the decommissioned structures yet.
“We still have eight playground structures throughout town,” Thorpe said. “There’s still lots of options for families looking for playground structures.”
Three of the city’s spray parks opened last week.
“We have three touch-activated spray parks in town now,” Mayor Sharie Minions said during a Facebook Live COVID-19 update last week on the city’s Facebook page.
Roger Creek water park was converted to a touch-activated system a few years ago; Blair Park’s water park can now be activated by a button (no need to rent a key anymore), and so can the spray park at Kiwanis Park on 16th Avenue. The spray park at Gyro Williamson Park still requires a phone call to the city to make arrangements for activation.
Going forward, any new spray parks will have touch-activated technology built in, Thorpe said.
Minions reminded parents that the city is not sanitizing playgrounds or spray parks.