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REPORTING · 14th March 2014
Walter McFarlane
Two of Kitimat’s playgrounds need to be replaced. One of the playgrounds is the big construct down at Riverlodge, the other one is on Angle Street. This was brought to Council’s attention at their Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, March 10th.

“Both of these structures are the old wooden structures. We did have Alan Kavanaugh who is a risk assessment manager go through our parks, one of his specialties. He did come up with conditions that we want to bring Mayor and Council up on and proposed some ideas for replacement,” said Shaun O’Neill.

There are several issues. All three structures were non-conforming to the current CSA Standards. If the District tried to rebuild them as is, they would have to do other things to bring them up to code. There are several entrapment hazards where limbs and heads could become trapped. The wooden structures are deteriorating due to the climate in Kitimat. There are sharp edges protruding from places. The platforms are rotting. There is also not enough fall protection.

“The Angle Street structure has also started to lean. It’s no longer square in the ground,” said O’Neill.

He showed the Council slides of the deterioration to the parks. Risk assessment requested replacement. The cost to replace Smith Street Parks was $64,000 in 2013. The cost to replace Riverlodge’s structure is $60,000 to $65,000 for a larger park, and $45,000 to $50,000 for a smaller park. Angle Street Park is estimated for $35,000 - $40,000 for the same size and $45,000 to $50,000 for a larger park.

Councillor Mario Feldhoff made sure the other playgrounds were up to date. O’Neill said the other parks were up to date. Feldhoff asked if the Angle Street Park was well used. The reply was it is not well used. However, their plan, provided the community agrees, is to move the park to the green space behind Bartholomew Street.

“For years and years, when Roy Wilcox was operating, we had a beautiful playground in there that the kids could come and use at all hours because it was school board maintained. Since the closure of that school, that park’s been moved to Nechako so there is really no park servicing any of those areas up in here,” said O’Neill.

Feldhoff wanted to know if there were any parks left at the school. He was told there were two swing sets and a small climbing apparatus. Everything else is at Nechako.

Councillor Corinne Scott said the Riverlodge Park is more used and wanted to do it first in 2015. O’Neil stated the structure at Angle is in worse shape and is leaning so it should be done first. Gould added there is rotten wood, but they cannot fix the head entrapments. As soon as they adjust the structure, they will have to replace the structure. At the moment, it is simply existing non-conforming.

Feldhoff stated there were a lot of children living in the Roy Wilcox area so he wanted to replace in the park there first. Scott moved the recommendation to discuss replacing the Angle Park in 2015 budget deliberations and refer the replacement of Riverlodge playground to the 2016 budget. The motion was called and carried.