PORT HARDY—Thanks to a financial boost from the province and a whole lot of elbow grease from local volunteers, the students of Eagle View Elementary School charged out to recess last Thursday morning to find a shiny new playground awaiting.
“It looked like the grand opening of an amusement park ride,” said Danita Schmidt, trustee for School District 85. “The kids were queued up waiting for turns.”
The playground equipment, including a large climbing structure, teeter-totters and multiple spinning devices, was selected an ordered after the school was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Province of B.C., part of its overall $8 million project to upgrade playgrounds throughout the province.
School PAC member Janine Noel spearheaded the drive, and PAC contributed funding for the installation and organized the volunteer crews who descended on the school grounds late last week to dig holes, erect the equipment and pour concrete.
“A group of us picked out the equipment,” Noel said. “We put together two options and placed a poster in the school to let the kids vote on what they wanted. We’re very happy with it.
“The equipment was on sale, too,” she added with a laugh. “It worked out very well for us.”
Local excavator Dave Janke was hired as project manager and Craig Jones of Henderson equipment, who has expertise in installing the pieces, was brought in as a consultant.
Most of the rest of the work and much of the material was donated by volunteers and local businesses, including Overwaitea Foods, Keltic Seafood, Keta Cable, Hardy Builders Supply and Dunlop’s Home Hardware.
A small battalion of parents and other volunteers dug holes, assembled parts and hauled wheelbarrows. Port Hardy Bulldozing provided trucking, Port McNeill Enterprises donated mixed concrete, and the finished playground site was filled with gravel donated by Orca Sand and Gravel.
“We had tons of support from businesses,” Noel said. “And I was really pleased with the number and the variety of people who came out to help.”