Less than three weeks after a school board trustee called for regular maintenance on district playgrounds, part of her wish is coming true.
On Monday night in their regular board meeting, School District 20 (Kootenay Columbia) trustees elected to engage the City of Rossland in an effort to keep the region’s newest school playground pristine.
The board voted in favour of donating the playground equipment at Rossland Secondary School (RSS) to the city, and to ensure maintenance on the playground will be done in the future.
“We don’t have the maintenance staff they do, and it is on their property,” said trustee Mark Wilson, chair of the SD20 finance and facilities committee.
The city took over RSS’ Jubilee Field some years ago to alleviate operating costs for the district.
On Sept. 24 trustee Jen Carter asked SD20 to develop a regular maintenance program around its 11 district schools in order to avoid the situation that is now occurring at RSS.
Last year the Ministry of Education gave $50,000 to Rossland for a new playground apparatus, but the equipment is already showing inappropriate indications of wear, said Carter.
She said already in Rossland there is trouble with the flooring underneath the equipment: It is lifting and there is a grass growing underneath.
The lack of maintenance is wearing out the equipment prematurely and it will need to be replaced long before it needs to, she told the board.
Trustee Gordon Smith asked if there had been consultation with the City of Rossland on the maintenance of the playground. Wilson said they had not consulted with the city.
“So the board is relying on the previous agreement to build the playground on the city-owned property?” he asked.
The board also passed a motion that the current “reciprocal provisions for joint use” agreement with the City of Rossland will be updated accordingly to provide playground access on school days.
The board will also hold in reserve residual funding from the installation of the RSS playground project for future additional playground equipment.
Around $5,000 was left from the installation.
In a letter to the board, Diana Wilkes, chair of the RSS parents’ advisory committee (PAC), said the Neighbourhood of Learning committee, as well as the PAC from Rossland Secondary and MacLean Elementary, contributed “tremendous volunteer efforts and funds to have the playground installed on a volunteer basis,” rather than having it professionally installed by the playground company.
She noted the money would be used for further playground enhancements, such as benches, a picnic table or other playground items (tether ball poles) to be determined and administered by the RSS PAC and school administration.