After nearly three years of fundraising, the West Sechelt Playground Enhancement Committee (WSPEC) is close to their goal of securing $100,000 to create a new accessible playground, but more help is needed to start building this summer.
Thanks to generous support from the community, the District of Sechelt, Scotia Bank, the Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Fortis B.C. and a matching grant from Tire Stewardship B.C., WSPEC now has $72,925 in the bank. If the remaining funds aren’t found by summer, however, WSPEC could loose their $30,000 matching grant from Tire Stewardship B.C.
In an effort to encourage others to give now, Erin and Ross Storey, owners of SUNCO Building Materials Ltd., have stepped up with a $1,000 donation and a call out to other businesses to meet or beat it before Oct. 31.
“I just think this is an excellent project that is really needed in West Sechelt, and if a bunch of businesses stepped up and each gave $1,000, the project could go ahead this summer,” Erin said.
Students at West Sechelt Elementary School will create plaques recognizing businesses that take up the challenge, and the lasting thank yous will be fastened to the fence beside the playground along Norwest Bay Road.
“I don’t know anywhere else a business can get that kind of lasting advertising for a one-time donation,” Erin noted.
In addition to the permanent plaque, donors of $1,000 or more will have their name posted on the www.westsecheltplayground.com website and receive recognition at the ribbon cutting ceremony and in future print advertising.
“We hope many businesses will come alongside us during this final fundraising push to ensure we can create an accessible place for children of all abilities to play together in West Sechelt this summer,” WSPEC chair Sue Shinn said.
“We were so excited to hear about Ross and Erin’s fundraising plan and thank them for the idea and for their willingness to give to our project.”
Although the campaign wasn’t officially launched until this week, word got out early, prompting the owner of Mason Place to step up with a matching donation.
“It was great to see her enthusiasm to get involved and we hope Ross and Erin’s challenge will inspire others in the same way,” Shinn said.
WSPEC plans to add onto the existing playground at West Sechelt Elementary School with an accessible spinner, sensory play wall, clubhouse and stand-up teeter-totter. Once the equipment is installed, the ground will be covered with a poured rubber surface to make it fully accessible.
Currently the ground is covered with rocks, which makes the playground inaccessible for those in wheelchairs or walkers. Some elderly visitors to the playground also have mobility issues and are unable to enjoy the space with their grandchildren because of the uneven ground surface.
Once the playground is complete, it will be circled with a concrete walkway and benches will be installed for the public’s use, creating a community gathering place in West Sechelt.
If you want to give to the effort, cheques can be made out to School District #46 with WSPEC in the memo line and sent to P.O. Box 220, Gibsons, B.C. V0N 1V0. Tax receipts will be issued through the school district.