B.C. Premier John Horgan takes part in a blessing of the new playground by Cowichan and T’sou-ke Nation Elder Shirley Alphonse at Savory Elementary School on Friday. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)

The ‘days of parents funding playgrounds are over’ vows Horgan during launch

Premier John Horgan, local Elder launch playground at Savory Elementary

Rick Stiebel

News Staff

Water gathered from around the world was used in a blessing Friday to mark the officially opening of the new playground at Savory Elementary School.

Shirley Alphonse, an Elder with connections to the Cowichan and T’Sou-ke Nations, performed the blessing with water collected from a varieyt of sites during travels by her dear friend, B.C. Premier John Horgan.

“It’s an honour to be here with the premier and all the children from Savory School,” Alphonse said to those gathered outside the school next to the playground. “Thanks to everyone involved in the project. May each child always be happy and safe.”

Ravi Parmar, Sooke School District board chair and trustee, thanked everyone, including members of the the board, staff and parents for their efforts in bringing the $105,000 project to fruition before introducing Horgan to a crowd of parents, facilities staff, politicians and guests.

Horgan, MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca, spoke fondly of Alphonse, and joked about some of the difficulties he’s dealt with bringing small containers of water from different countries back to her on airplanes. “This school in Langford will be forever connected by the waters from around the world that blessed this playground,” he said.

READ ALSO: Province funds $88.6M for two new schools in Langford by 2022

He spoke about the challenges parents have historically faced selling chocolates, through bake sales and a host of other methods to raise money for what were considered incidentals in the past.

“The days of parents funding playgrounds are over,” Horgan said, citing the the commitment he made with B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming. “In less than two years, we’ve announced 101 new playgrounds opening in schools across the province. We’re taking the pressure off parents who work so hard to fundraise.”

Fleming reiterated that commitment, pointing out that the government’s Playground Equipment Program has invested $10 million in playgrounds since it was launched in 2018. He underlined that investing in playgrounds addresses the educational experience, which is about much more than academics. “Sometimes parents had to fundraise for six, seven, eight years just to build a playground, ” Fleming said. “This responds to a need we’ve heard from throughout the province.”

Savory principal Kerry Arnot expressed gratitude to the provincial government for the grant, the school’s Parent Advisory Council, the Sooke School District board, staff and district workers in helping refine the vision for the playground. “There’s been amazing contributions by so many people in making this playground accessible to all students,” she said.

READ ALSO: Sooke School District experiences record growth – again

Robyn Little, president of the Savory Elementary Parent Advisory Council, thanked the district and the province. “It enhances the natural surroundings for outdoor play and learning here at Savory,” she said. “We’re thrilled.”

Her daughter Hannah, a Grade 5 student said she and her friends like playing on it. “There’s so much more to do now. Thank you all.”

Schools in B.C. have the option of applying for PEP funding by sending a list of priorities in their capital plan submissions in June of each year. Playgrounds are funded on the greatest need, with priority given to schools with no playground., then to schools where the existing playground is aging.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

B.C. Premier John Horgan, Education Minister Rob Fleming and Sooke School Board chair Ravi Parmar listen to Grade 5 student Hannah Little as she expresses gratitude to everyone involved in the project at the official opening of the new playground at Savory Elementary on Friday. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)

B.C. Premier John Horgan enjoys the enthusiasm of students engaging in some good old fashioned fun and exercise at the official opening of the new playground at Savory Elementary on Friday. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)

Just Posted

Michael Friesen, 38, is a Caucasian man standing 6’1” and weighing approximately 220 pounds. (VicPD handout)
VicPD seeking man believed to be ‘actively evading police detection’

Michael Friesen wanted on an unendorsed warrant for various offences

A power outage is affecting over 1,500 people on the West Shore on the morning of Oct. 19. (BC Hydro)
Over 1,500 people without power due to early morning West Shore crash

Some delays on Sooke Road as BC Hydro crews repair damage

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Greater Victoria in high-demand on website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Saanich police are warning residents to be aware of a non-aggressive bear sighting in the 400-block of Haliburton Terrace. (Black Press Media file photo)
Non-aggressive bear spotted in Saanich neighbourhood

Saanich police advise residents to be aware of sighting in the 400-block of Haliburton Terrace

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is warning customers of a confirmed case of COVID-19 on WestJet flight 195 from Calgary into Victoria on Oct. 11. Passengers seated between rows one and seven should self-minotor for symptoms for the next 14 days. (Black Press Media file photo)
Confirmed COVID case on WestJet flight day after previous exposure on same route

BCCDC warning passengers seated in rows one to seven on WestJet flight 195 on Oct. 11 into Victoria

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. suburbs could see increased demand for rental units as people work from home

Vancouver’s average monthly rent is the highest out of 35 cities across Canada

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Alberni. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: More sailings cancelled after ferry breaks down

Queen of Alberni out of commission, BC Ferries revises schedules

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

Most Read