Rotary Friendship Park, the nautical themed playground on Sechelt’s waterfront, will become fully accessible soon with installation of a rubberized surface where gravel now sits, thanks to two grants totalling about $36,000.
The improvement project was pitched by District of Sechelt parks supervisor Perry Schmitt to Tire Stewardship B.C. (TSBC) and Kal Tire’s Six for Sixty initiative.
The result was approval for a grant of about $18,000 worth of rubberized material from TSBC and approval under Kal Tire’s Six for Sixty program to match the funding. TSBC grants call for applicants to match whatever funds are given, but Kal Tire footed the bill in this instance.
“Friendship Park stood out,” said Mindy Crawford, communications coordinator with Kal Tire. “Basically the blurb they’d given us, which we thought was excellent said it’s going to offer wheelchair accessibility, which was huge.”
Making Friendship Park accessible was part of the plan when Rotary Club of the Sunshine Coast-Sechelt first built it back in 2007; however, installing a rubber surface under the entire park was too expensive. Instead some rubber ground cover was installed around most of the equipment and the rest of the park was filled in with pea gravel.
“I think it’s fantastic that it can get finished off,” said Clark Hamilton, who was one of the Rotarians instrumental in getting the park built. “It contributes a lot to the well-being of the community and it gets a tremendous amount of use, that whole area. It’s changed the whole face of that waterfront area and kind of given it an anchor at the end of the town.”
TSBC saw the project’s importance, with operations manager Rosemary Sutton adding that the District’s application demonstrated “the commitment and enthusiastic support that B.C. communities have for finding creative and exciting uses for recycled scrap tire materials.”
The District of Sechelt expects the new ground cover to be laid at Rotary Friendship Park between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. Once complete the District will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen the park and thank the partners who made the accessible playground possible.