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Playground project down, but not out

The bid by parents of future students at the new Qayqayt elementary school to build a playground may be down, but it's not out.

On Tuesday the John Robson parents' advisory council learned their proposal for an accessible playground wasn't among the grand prize winners in the Aviva Community Fund, an annual competition by the insurance company to provide up to $1 million in funding for community projects across Canada. The group had hoped to secure $100,000 to be able to build the playground in time for the school's opening in September.

And while the $5,000 they did win as one of the competition's 30 finalists is some consolation, it's a far cry from the money they'll need to give kids a place to climb and burn off energy.

"We've got a lot of fundraising to do," said Ronda Field of the Robson PAC. "There's no amount of bake sales that will raise $100,000."

So her group is going to have to get creative, said Field.

Even as the disappointment of not securing the grant sinks in, she's already planning how to build off the community support the proposal did get during the months long competition. That means reigniting discussions with service organizations and corporations that had indicated a willingness to help out as the playground proposal endured three rounds of online voting to reach the finals.

Field said she's confident they'll step up.

"We just have to regroup and figure out which doors to knock," said Field.

And there will likely be no shortage of volunteers willing to do that knocking, said Field, who will be meeting with her team early next week.

"We have some really energetic people trying to mobilize everybody," she said. "That's a good start."

They'll have to get up to speed quickly, though. To be able to get the most playground for their bucks, the parents advisory council hopes to order the equipment by late spring so it can be installed in the summer as the trades building the school are still on site.

"We know we need a lot of money in a short period of time," said Field. "We're determined. We're going to work our backsides off."

To make a private donation to help build the playground, go to www.vote4robson.com.

 

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