Lions turn to city for park expansion help
The Parksville Lions Club, which operates the renown Ventureland children’s playground in Parksville’s Community Park, approached council recently to ask for help with a new component.
Duane Round and Ron Gamble spoke at the June 20 council meeting, giving background on the playground and touching on expansion hopes for the future.
Gamble explained the Lions acquired the playground from the city in 1985 in poor condition with only 10 worn out features and pointed out there are now 80 individual features between the playground and the water park portion they started in 1991.
They have raised an enormous amount of funds for the park over the years through fundraisers, bingo and various government grants, along with countless hours of volunteer efforts to maintain it. Gamble pointed out it would cost more than $435,000 to build it from scratch today.
And he pointed out the incredible draw the area has become for the whole city, being used in promoting the city and as a central feature of any big event in the park.
He said they had over 50,000 visits last year including hundreds of school bus loads of children from all over Vancouver Island and even the Mainland.
“If you plan to bring your children or grandchildren there, beware, you may have trouble getting them to leave,” he said.
Round continued that the city has been very supportive in helping maintain the playground, but that it is in need of more help.
Between natural use and aging of the equipment, vandalism and the rising cost of more safety conscious modern equipment, Round explained the playground is beginning to cut into the Lions’ funds for other projects.
They are currently working to get a new self-contained feature called Space Net for a total installed cost of $37,800.
Round said the Lions have authorized $15,000 for the project and they are continuing to look for other sources of funding but any portion of the remaining $22,800 the city could provide would be much appreciated.
Presented in the committee of the whole portion of the meeting, council was supportive and agreed to ask staff to look into the details and report back on options.
“We know you understand and appreciate the Ventureland and we hope you will include it in the long term budgeting process,” Round summarized.