New equipment coming to 10 Halifax area playgrounds

The playgrounds aren’t unsafe, but city says they’ve reached the end of their life cycle

An HRM tender released last month will bring brand new equipment to 10 municipal playgrounds this fall.

The playgrounds are located throughout the municipality. The communities of Middle Sackville, Cole Harbour and Halifax will all benefit from two revamped playgrounds. Playgrounds in Dartmouth, Lower Sackville, Head of Jeddore and Fall River will also get brand new equipment.

The sites were chosen based on recommendations from the city’s recreation department.

More than 400 Halifax playgrounds are inspected on a regular basis, said Jeff Spares, manager of Parks Capital Projects, a division of the recreation department.

“If they weren’t safe they would be closed down,” he said. “But once they get to the end of their life, they’re no longer economical to keep repairing, then we put them in the budget to get replaced.”

Each playground has its own budget ranging from $30,000 to $75,000. The total cost for all 10 playgrounds is $540,000.

The playgrounds will feature play equipment for two different age groups: 18 months to five years, and five years to 12. There will also be equipment for children of all ages.

Spares said the playgrounds will get complete makeovers, and all existing structures will be removed and replaced.

The change is exciting to a Cole Harbour mother, Teagan Archer-Parrell, and her three-year-old son, Stirling. The pair frequently go to the Poplar Drive Park playground in the warmer months.

“Oh, it’s awful. It’s all rotten and it’s geared to…the six to 12 age groups. It hasn’t been cleaned up in, I think, years,” said Archer-Parrell.

She’s excited for the park to get a wider range of play equipment — especially things her son will fit into.

“It would be great to get him outside a lot more and have him more excited to walk to the park,” she said. “It would be nice to have that reward system.”

Rotting wood on a play structure at Kenneth Walker Park playground in Halifax.   Kate Woods

Though these playgrounds need replacing, a councillor for one of the areas hasn’t received safety concerns from the public about the playgrounds.

But Coun. Lisa Blackburn, who represents Middle/Upper Sackville-Beaver Bank-Lucasville, said many of her constituents were tired of the old equipment in her district’s playgrounds.

“I am always getting calls for something new in the play structures,” she said. ”I get a lot of requests for more slides … and toddler equipment” Blackburn said.

The designs will be different for each site. When the city decides on a supplier, the designs will be chosen.

Construction for all sites are expected to be completed by Oct. 2, 2020.

Kate Woods

Kate Woods is a journalism student living in Halifax, originally from Coldbrook, a small village in the valley. She loves books and hearing people tell their stories.

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