What a difference a year makes!
It was one year ago, when parents and kids were heading back to their school on the Saanich Peninsula, that they learned that $40-thousand dollars earmarked for a new playground had been stolen from their Parent Advisory Council.
It’s not open to the public yet, but the builder’s kids excitedly try out the new, natural playground at Ecole Keating Elementary.
It’s a playground that, at this time last year, was a dream literally stolen from the families at this school, with the theft of $40-thousand dollars from the parent advisory council funds.
Money fundraised by parents over a number of years to replace aging playground equipment.
Central Saanich police launched an investigation, and Tanya Adam, once the pac treasurer, has now pleaded guilty to theft over $5-thousand dollars.
That brought closure, but not the money, and so Garden City Tree and Landscape offered to build a natural playground, at their own expense.
Explains Garden City foreman Chris Schroeder “there’s a lot of great people that contributed to the building of this whole site, from the guys that brought in rocks, and everything else, to the guys who did the great sanding work…”
Along with Garden City’s remarkable donation, was a $30,000 dollar gift from Peninsula Coop, to help replace the stolen funds.
The Coop’s Penny Sopel explains why the business got on board.
“Putting money back into our own community is fantastic, and Keating Elementary School…a lot of their parents are members here, and have shopped in the Coop and at the gas station for many many years.”
With slides at ground level, a climbing wall, and a huge fort – the unique design is a big hit!
<<2:30 out of school care>>
“Definitely with children,” explains Bahiyyih Egeli from Keating Out of School Care, “you want them to be able to have an environment where they can play and be more creative, and make up their own games and stories as they go along…”
Garden City owner Chris Stansfield was pleased to offer their services.
“These natural playgrounds have been something very dear to our company’s heart.
“We believe in getting kids back to nature. It’s a great re-purposing of byproducts that we would have normally anyway.”
Schroeder adds “Nobody likes to take a tree down, so it’s nice to take it down and put it back in a kind of different way.”
And give a school community a gift that will last for generations.