The Canada Games Centre could soon be home to another playground.
At Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 21 meeting, Karen Zaiden, the city’s acting manager of recreation and facility services, brought forward a recommendation that council award the contract for the accessible playground design, supply and installation to Play Systems North, a local company.
The contract is worth $199,500 and would see the playground installed near the main entrance to the recreation facility off Hamilton Boulevard.
As Zaiden explained, the project is one of a number of initiatives that were put on hold earlier in the year due to COVID-19.
A revised timeline was put in place with a goal of awarding the contract this fall so the playground equipment can be sourced over the winter and installed in the spring of 2021.
Answering questions from Coun. Laura Cabott, Zaiden explained that as the city grows, more options for active play are being sought by CGC users and this is one way to meet that request.
While the CGC already has an indoor playground space (which is currently closed due to COVID-19), Zaiden said in a Sept. 24 interview when open the 25-person capacity was often reached. This will also help promote more outdoor play and will be more accessible and inclusive than the current indoor playground, she said.
She noted the outdoor playground will also be in a place that’s already frequented by youngsters on their way in and out of the CGC.
This playground will be accessible and include areas to be more active as well as more passive spaces. There will also be musical instruments, an accessible ramp and signage “which combine to create an inclusive playground.”
In addition, a rendering of the proposed playground shows slides, areas for climbing and a number of other features.
Play Systems North submitted the highest-scoring proposal of three in an evaluation that looked at experience, industry and installation certifications, quality, appearance, accessibility, space optimization, play value, the variety of features, structures and dynamic/complimenting features prior to considering the price.
Blue Imp and Playspace Adventures Ltd. also submitted proposals for the project.
Council is set to vote on the contract at its Sept. 28 meeting.
Meanwhile, it is not yet clear when the fully accessible playground will be installed that had been planned for Shipyards Park earlier this past summer.
Coun. Jan Stick asked city staff about the plans at the Sept. 21 meeting.
The Canadian Tire Jump Start Charity had gifted the city with the playground as part of its plans to build a fully accessible, inclusive playground in each province and territory.
Council had voted in March to accept the 9,500-square-foot playground for Shipyards Park. Construction would have begun in the summer with the finishing touches put in place in the spring of 2021 with it then being opened to the public.
Jeff O’Farrell, the city’s manager of community and recreation services, told council that in April Jump Start informed the city many of the 2020 projects that were planned — including the Whitehorse playground — wouldn’t proceed this year due to COVID-19.
Currently, he said, Jump Start is planning its projects for 2021 with those plans expected to be finalized in November.
Hopefully, the Whitehorse project will proceed in 2021, he said.
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