New Westminster children have temporarily lost a few of their favourite places to play – but work is underway to replace all of them.
Families who’ve visited Queen’s Park recently will have noticed that the large wooden play tower with the slides and fire pole is now gone.
The old structure was taken down between July 19 and 26, according to Erika Mashig, the city’s parks and open space planner.
“The old play tower was built 30 years ago and, through our routine inspections, it was identified the structure has reached the end of its life by our CSA-certified playground inspectors,” Mashig said in an email to the Record.
A sign at the site shows a rendering of the replacement play tower, which includes climbing structures and slides. It will be built with a variety of options for access, including a transfer platform at the base of the treehouse for “an inclusive approach to the play features,” the sign says.
Mashig noted the new structure was selected through a public tender process, during which staff considered factors such as the age of users, the play value and “diversifying the play experience” relative to the other equipment in the park.
The new equipment is expected to be ready for use this summer, by the end of August or early September.
Meanwhile, in the West End, Grimston Park was hit by fire on July 20.
The fire affected just the small independent slide tower that crosses the water channel, Mashig said. That portion of the playground has been closed, but other play equipment and other parts of the park – including the washrooms, wading pool, fields and picnic areas – have remained usable.
City staff are hoping repairs will be completed soon, with a target to reopen the play structure on Friday, July 30.
Mashig noted the fire is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the New Westminster police and fire departments.
Playground-goers in the downtown core have also been affected by the months-long closure of the small toddler play structure at Westminster Pier Park, which was removed in May following a fire.
The city currently has a public engagement process underway to decide on a replacement feature for the small site near the park concession stand.
It’s currently considering four options:
- Toddler play structure – similar to the previous structure, geared for ages two to five
- Static fitness equipment – such as pull-up bars and ladders, geared for ages 13 and up
- Table tennis – one table, geared for ages four and up
- Trampoline and mounds – an in-ground trampoline surrounded by play mounds, geared for all ages.
People can give their feedback on the ideas and choose their favourites at the city’s Be Heard engagement site.
Mashig noted the survey closes on Aug. 16 and, once results are summarized, city staff will share the results and provide a timeline for the replacement equipment.