The aging and unsafe Nanoose Road Community Park playground equipment was removed this spring after standing for more than 23 years. — Lauren Collins photo

Residents wants a natural playground in Nanoose Bay

POSAC asked to consider a new location in the Mardona/Timberstone area

  • Jun. 28, 2017 10:30 a.m.

Nanoose Bay residents want the Regional District of Nanaimo to look at creating a new playground in the Madrona/Timberstone area.

Since removing the playground structures at Nanoose Bay Community Park a couple of months ago due to its age and condition, the RDN has not made any decision to replace it. Instead, the board of directors directed staff to work with Electoral Area E Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee (POSAC) to consider potential alternative uses.

Peter van Dongen and Clarice Springford, along with youngsters Janel van Dongen, 9, and Troy van Dongen, 5, appeared as a delegation at the Electoral Area E POSAC meeting on June 14 to offer suggestions on playground facilities in Nanoose Bay.

They said it is a good time to assess a new location and the type of playgrounds available to families throughout Nanoose Bay. They suggested a neighbourhood playground to be built in the Madrona/Timberstone area.

With Nanoose Bay Elementary School already equipped with playground structures funded by the RDN in 2009, and within walking distance of Nanoose Bay Community Park, the residents feel a playground somewhere else would be ideal.

The Madrona area has experienced significant growth with the new developments at Timberstone and Mardrona Heights. There have been a number of young families moving into the older and more established residential areas. They see a growing need for a playground in that part of Nanoose Bay.

A new playground, they claimed, would encourage children to engage in healthy play and physical actvitiy, and for families it would serve as gathering place and help build a sense of community.

And instead of installing a standard play structure, the residents have requested POSAC to consider developing a “natural playground or playscape,” a style that has been rising in popularity across North America because children are favouring them more.

“These play areas are designed to encourage imaginative, open-ended play and bring children back to nature using natural elements such as logs, tree stumps, rocks, slides embedded into the natural slope of a hill, native plants and trees and generally as little man-made components (as possible),” said van Dongen, who added it would be a perfect fit for the “Nurtured by Nature” branding used on signage by the Nanoose Bay community.

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