After three years, $21,000 and countless hours of volunteer time, the Serendipity Preschool community playground is finally a reality for Pender Harbour.
Although the preschool children have been enjoying their new climber, swing set and sandbox since school commenced on Sept. 14, the preschool is inviting the community to visit the playground on Saturday, Oct. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the Pender Harbour Fall Faire.
The new playground is even more important for the preschool with enrollment up and an extra class being added on Thursday mornings for a total of three classes a week. The pre-existing playground had been around for years, and it just wasn't as safe as Gwen Walwyn, the preschool teacher, would have liked.
"We wanted to replace the old playground with something that was safe and fun for all the young children in the community, not just the preschool kids," said Walwyn. It was especially fitting then that so many individuals and businesses from the community donated their time, money, equipment and materials to the project, added Walwyn.
"We had an amazing amount of support from the community," she said. One of the highlights of the playground campaign was when the preschool board heard that the Vancouver Foundation had awarded an $8,000 matching grant.
"We were lucky that we fit the foundation's criteria, and that they had previously awarded that amount for similar projects," said Jodee Young, preschool treasurer.
The preschool was also granted $3,500 from the BC Gaming Commission.
The playground took about eight hours over two days in the summer to install. Tonya Stephan, preschool parent and project manager from Stephan Landscaping, said one of the most difficult parts of building and installing the playground was trying to dig six 27-inch deep holes when they kept hitting rock.
"We ended giving up and cutting one of the poles because that rock wasn't going anywhere," Stephan said. "If there is ever an earthquake you should go over and hang onto that playground because it's going to be the safest place in Pender Harbour."