The future of Storybook Village and Alphabet Garden in Qualicum Beach is uncertain and looking for input.

Future foggy for Storybook Village in Qualicum Beach

Vandalism, closure of elementary school, presenting challenges for the children's attraction

With its future in jeopardy, Storybook Village is looking for a happy ending.

The child-scale village has been a family hub in the middle of Qualicum Beach for five years, but Building Learning Together is struggling to maintain it and is looking to the community for ideas and support.

Available to all children, any day of the week and active during special events, the village has a fire hall, theatre, Victorian house, gas station, grocery store, library, bank and hospital, all linked by a paved roadway for pedal cars, trikes and bikes with traffic light and signs.

“There has been repeated vandalism to both the village and Alphabet Garden,” said BLT manager Judi Malcolm.

As recently as a couple weeks ago, and many times a year, “there are break-ins, windows are broken, it looks like folks are just looking for a place to hang out.”

She said the high-profile location, on the property of the former elementary school, helps bring in families to enjoy it as intended, but also makes it a target after hours, especially since the school closed last summer.

“There was a bong left behind and… evidence of sexual activity,” she said choosing her words carefully. “There has been graffiti and damage inside, signs pushed over, things broken.”

And aside from that the nonprofit charity which runs learn-through-play facility is struggling to keep up with the regular maintenance, with some of the wood buildings starting to “have issues with wear and tear,” Malcolm said.

“The physical maintenance of the grounds and buildings are just too much for our limited resources,” she said, adding the partner school district has done what it can.

And so they are turning to the community that was so involved in developing the site.

“The community rallied together to make it happen,” Malcolm said in a news release. “Community members, organizations and businesses from all over Oceanside built Storybook Village,” with funding from grants and donations, assembled by local businesses and community partners.

They invite everyone, including those early supporters and especially the families who use it, to join them next Wednesday to discuss the future of Storybook Village and Alphabet Garden.

“It is important to know if the community values it. If they do, we need to find a way to sustain it.”

She pointed to the high use the site gets with events like their Halloween Spooktacular, bike rodeo and other partner groups who host things like an archeological dig, storytelling, play dough exploration, face painting and other activities, as evidence the community does value the site.

She said her best hope is to find an existing service group, company, or specially formed group “to take over as stewards to work with BLT to maintain the site and keep it as the community asset it was originally intended.”

She suggested it may no longer be sustainable, or might best be moved to another location. They are open to all ideas and just looking to get the community involved in the conversation.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, February 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the former elementary school library (744 Primrose Street.

Just Posted

Crosley Road blaze destroys pair of side-by-side structures

Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department reports no one injured, blaze quickly extinguished

Kwalikum Kondors clip Thunderbirds to earn Islands berth

Head coach Wilson says it’s the best game the Kondors played this season

Wine, beer and foodies unite to celebrate 11th annual Parksville Uncorked

Four-day festival takes place from Feb. 21 to 24

SD69 students hope to send artwork to space

The winning patches will accompany an experiment designed by five students from Ballenas

Review: Show about the show delights at Qualicum Beach premiere

A combination of hilarity and tender moments for Second Chances musical

VIDEO: The Art of Surfboard Making

Hand-made, handpainted surfboard by Parksville couple

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read