By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: September 27, 2017
Kaija Belfry Munroe can see from her living room window the neighbourhood kids playing in the newly installed equipment at Willow Park. Munroe, a Quest university professor, can take some credit for that heart-warming view.
Last fall, she mobilised families on the need for playground equipment, especially for children aged 3 and above, made videos and presented a case to the council for funding the equipment.
Council granted the group $48,000 for new playground equipment.
In a unique community building exercises, families got together to build a large piece of equipment under the watchful eyes of the suppliers. Now, Munroe is hoping the district would fund phase 2 of the park, which the council couldn’t approve last year because of budget considerations.
Munroe wants the district to consider funding a Dynamo Apollo Spinner as part of the phase 2 expansion of the park.
“There are 780 houses within 250 metres of this neighbourhood and its Squamish’s densest neighbourhood, but it was frustrating to see we had nothing for older kids. Now we have children of all ages playing here,” she said.
The Rotary Club has also agreed to fund a swing set extension and provide for landscaping and seating, which will be both completed in spring.
“Community members have volunteered to help with these initiatives. Since the new equipment went in, the park has become a vibrant area in our community that is often packed with children, many of them school-aged, on nice days. One of my neighbours told me that it had “breathed new life into the place,” she said.
Munroe says the local government needs to be mindful about creating public space for children and the community as the town densifies.
She said their neighbourhood experience shows it’s possible to engage local leadership and it has made people more optimistic that they can have an impact.