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Galland Community Park is where the kids in the Shawnigan Lake neighbourhood go to play.

But the Cowichan Valley Regional District is set to take it down Tuesday.

“It’s pretty disheartening for our entire community but especially for the children who live here,” said Annilee Guy, a neighbour.

“One of the reasons we bought a home in this neighbourhood was because of this lovely playground. We have a young family so a lot of young kids are going to be pretty sad.”

Tonight a number of parents are planning to bring their kids to play at the park as a protest and more than 200 people have signed an online petition demanding the playground remain.

“Why wasn’t the community consulted about this and why weren’t we given more lead time?” asked Nicole Beneteau.

“There’s nothing like losing your community park right before summer.”

The Regional District says an independent inspection recently determined the playground installed in 2001 is no longer safe because of the rust and missing parts.

The company that made it is no longer in business so parts are no longer available.

“It’s not necessarily that it’s unsafe in terms of use that threatens kids safety overall,” said Brian Farquhar, Manager of Parks & Trails for the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

“It’s a case of we need to have a playground that is at a point in time where continued use of it, continued leaving it in the park we would have concerns about the safety of the children so it’s being prudent in terms of actions in advance of something happening.”

The Regional District is planning on replacing the playground with grass and there will be a community meeting in June to discuss resources and which park in the area should get a new playground.

Community members say they haven’t seen the playground inspection despite asking. The Regional District says it will recycle the equipment that has lasted nearly 18 years, beyond its expected life of 15.

Kendall Hanson