School playgrounds to receive upgrades

Sports fields will receive less attention as a result

Frequently cut fields have been standard at South Shore schools for the past few years, but this summer more attention will be paid to playgrounds needing some tender love and care after years of neglect.

A playground survey has determined there is a need for a few upgrades.

Landing areas need new pea gravel and borders need to be replaced, as standards have changed.

“One of the changes of what will occur is we need the forces to put the border in and move that pea gravel, and so what we’re going to be doing is balancing our summer work schedule with the crews who do our grass cutting and look after the tracks,” said Brian Smith, director of operations, who presented this information as part of the senior staff reports to the South Shore Regional School Board March 11.

Instead of cutting the grass every week, staff will cut it on a biweekly schedule.

“That’s going to free up one of our crews to be available to do the playground install,” said Mr. Smith.

Truckloads of pea gravel have already been deposited near playgrounds, to be used later this spring. Property services’ playground evaluation statistics indicated up to 80 per cent of accidents on playgrounds are due to inadequate landing areas.

New border has also been purchased.

“It was a bit of a trade-off around getting our playgrounds in order. It’s been a number of years, a long time since we’ve been able to put any money into the safety of the playgrounds,” said Geoff Cainen, the superintendent of schools.

Notification will be presented to municipalities regarding this change, but a letter has yet to be drafted.

Jennifer Naugler, a board member, expressed concern over communication with the municipalities and towns, suggesting the topic be brought up for discussion at the board’s next meeting instead. Elizabeth Crossland, another board member, brought up the fact that long grass is also a safety issue and that in some instances officials refuse to do games if fields aren’t up to standard.

“I think it’s important that we let them know we’ll accommodate cutting where there’s tournaments and events that are going to happen if they notify us ahead of time,” said Mr. Smith of the municipalities. “I believe working with them we can arrange for the cuttings to happen when they need it.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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