One of Vancouver’s last wooden playgrounds is on its last legs

Parents from Queen Victoria Annex launch fundraiser for new equipment

Time has caught up with yet another vestige of old Vancouver.

It’s not necessarily drawing the ire of a beloved diner, business or building coming down, but rather, it’s simply time for change.

The wooden playground at Queen Victoria Annex off Victoria Drive is falling apart and close to the end of its life. Just this week, sections of the play area were roped off to prevent kids from playing on it.

“It’s rotting. It doesn’t look good,” said Philippa Dove, whose seven-year-old Tom goes to the school.

Built around 2004 or 2005, Queen Victoria’s playground is one of only two left in the city that’s made of wood. The district’s preference has been to shift to more all-purpose materials such as metal or plastic.

Dove and other members of the school’s parent advisory committee have no problem with the district’s preference.

The issue is, however, a roughly $150,000 price tag that comes along with that replacement job. The onus is on the parent community to come up with that money, as the province rarely subsidizes playgrounds.

The PAC has been fundraising on and off for the impending fix for almost eight years. The financial push went into overdrive in the last year, and about $40,000 was raised through bake sales and donations.

The Rotary Club of Vancouver Fraserview pledged to donate money from its gala last month, and while final figures aren’t available yet, the PAC is hoping another $40,000 will be forthcoming. Figaro’s Garden on Victoria Drive is also donating a portion of Christmas tree sales to the PAC.

All of that goodwill still leaves the PAC, and the 120 Queen Victoria students, about $70,000 short.

The school district told the Courier in an emailed statement, “The Vancouver School District is looking to maintain the Queen Victoria structure until 2020, however if it fails one of the monthly safety inspections, it would look to be removed from service.”

So while there’s no hard deadline to raise that remaining $70,000, getting the money together quickly is paramount to the school community in the here and now. The playground is also used by other kids and families in the neighborhood outside of the immediate school community, Dove said.

The current playground, according to Dove, is limited in terms of functionality and some of the pieces are too high for younger students. 

“The current playground has a really limited range of intensive play experiences,” Dove said. “It’s important for us to get the kids bouncing, spinning, swinging and climbing.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the playground fundraiser and is online HERE.

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