Parkgoers on Hornby Island are swinging into a new, accessible era.
Hornby Island Community School on Sollans Road is now home to the island’s first-ever accessible swing set, which was unveiled to a crowd of students and parents at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to Comox Valley Schools.
The school district (SD71) in a news release says the new accessible, public swing set — the only one on Hornby — is now available for use by all children in the community, which is located east of Denman and Vancouver islands.
The set “incorporates an accessible swing and suitable ground cover, enabling children of all abilities to play side-by-side. This aligns with the PAC’s (Parent Advisory Council’s) vision of an inclusive play space,” the district said.
It says it also addresses “the previous lack of municipal playground equipment on the island” and helps enrich the school’s facilities.
“Research underscores the importance of such inclusive play structures in fostering childhood development, a belief strongly endorsed by the Hornby Island Community School PAC,” said SD71.
Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) Area A director Daniel Arbour says “every community should have a great playground,” so he’s praising the council, adding, “It’s with immense gratitude that we acknowledge the leadership provided by the Hornby PAC.”
The council spearheaded the project in October 2022, according to the district, which says a “robust” fundraising campaign raised more than $36,000 to bring the project to fruition. It says “significant contributions” from organizations, like Variety – the Children’s Charity of BC and CVRD, bolstered the campaign, and $4,800 was raised at a fundraising dance.
“This swing set stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of collaboration that made this project a resounding success,” said Ian Heselgrave, SD71’s director of operations, in the release.
Now SD71 is looking to the future.
“With gratitude extended to all funders and community members involved, Hornby Island families can look forward to witnessing the positive impacts of the swing set on the island’s children for years to come,” it added.