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École Oceanside Elementary School parents raise funds for $106K playground upgrades

RDN Electoral Area G donates $25,000 from its Community Works Fund
Parents and volunteers erect the playground structure at Ecole Oceanside Elementary School. (Michael Briones photo)

The École Oceanside Elementary School parent advisory committee has raised the funds needed to build a playground at the school.

Two projects that will cost $106,134.

One will be a brand-new playground that will accommodate 30 students. It will feature a double-sided rock climber, a climber dome, four swings and an independent saucer swing that will encourage inclusion opportunities for anyone with mobility challenges.

The second will be a play structure in the kindergarten area that will be able to handle 19 children.

The need for new playgrounds has became significantly obvious due to COVID-19, said Angel Delange, PAC chair. Due to health protocols, the outside play area was divided into three zones, with only one having access to the playground.

“This left children in the other two zones to stand around or make up their own tag games” said Delange. “PAC and our school administration felt it was time to make the push and do everything we could to make the plan for a new playground at EOES a reality. It was also brought to the PAC’s attention that our kindergarten teachers have noticed a lack of dexterity and core strength in some of their students.”

READ MORE: School District 69 (Qualicum) receives first fully electric bus

The PAC has raised $83,730 towards the project that included a bottle drive that generated $6,910 in one day.

“It was insane,” said Delange. “Many of us were on site for 10 hours. We filled two five-ton trucks and two one-ton trucks.”

Due to COVID-19, the PAC’s fundraising initiatives had to be cancelled and left them short of $22,404. They have applied to the Regional District of Nanaimo grant through the Oceanside Services Committee but the project did not qualify.

Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) director Lehann Wallace, who sat in the grants committee, found a way to help the school. She got the Regional District of Nanaimo board to approve $25,000 from its Community Works Funds to be allocated to the school’s playground project.

“The fundraising for the project has been years in the making and the Ecole Oceanside Elementary PAC did a huge amount of fundraising work to make it happen,” said Wallace. “The community deserves a round of applause for raising the money and Area G residents should feel good about completing this exciting District 69 project in the community through use of these funds.”

Delange said the RDN fund has lifted the project’s budget shortfall and allow installation of the playgrounds and work is now now underway at the school. Parents, volunteers and school district staff have combined to get the playground structure erected.

“As a thank you to our volunteers, PAC asked our EOES families and the community for donations so we could build three gift baskets,” said Delange. “We wanted to be able to have a gift basket for each day of the build that our volunteers could have a chance to win. The outpouring of support for this has been overwhelmingly generous and we received enough donations to be able to have multiple draws each day.”

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Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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