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

Association requests retention of surplus funds

Plan to increase hours of caseworkers

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Thrift Shop celebrated during SOS 50th year

A celebration week will take place from Sept. 24-29 at the Thrift Shop

Open burn ban lifted for Coastal Fire Centre

Prohibitions will be lifted at noon on Sept. 19

RDN to increase water services fees

The Regional District of Nanaimo is amending its water services charges to… Continue reading

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read