Airplane-themed climbing bars have gone into North Saanich’s Jubilee park along Mills Road. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Airplane apparatus goes up in North Saanich’s Jubilee Park

A new kind of airplane sits on the ground near the Victoria International Airport. It’s the kind kids can crawl all over.

The ‘airplane’ is a jungle gym style play area in North Saanich’s Jubilee Park and it’s now in place along Mills Road, close to West Saanich Road.

The installation has been in the works since the park itself was opened officially in August 2015, as part of the municipality’s celebration of 50 years of incorporation. However, as the land was cleared when the District moved on those plans, a few concerns were raised about its location — and how much it was all going to cost the taxpayers.

North Saanich District council most recently voted to pay an additional $25,000 into the approved $200,000 budget for the playground project. The District is footing $100,000 of the cost, with the rest coming from a federal Canada 150 grant ($60,100) and private donations. The land itself is owned by the federal government and was leased to the District by the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) for $1 a year.

Chief Administrative Officer Rob Buchan noted recently that this is, in essence, a donation from the VAA, even though it’s only a leasehold property and not outright ownership.

The latter point has been referred to as a donation to the municipality — something people have said is a misnomer, as money changes hands. Mayor Alice Finall said it’s essentially a donation by the VAA, as the land could be used for other things that could bring the VAA more revenue.

The District has also been criticized for using a crowdfunding campaign to try to raise money for the park.

That effort fell short of its goal of $44,000.

Work continues on finishing the playground area in the park. An official opening of the jungle gym component has not yet been announced.

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