Creating and maintaining healthy, safe and inclusive play spaces for all students is a priority for the North Vancouver School District. The following outlines various questions and considerations that are taken into account with regard to playground installations and renewals.
Left: Westview Elementary. Right: Queen Mary Community Elementary.
What funding mechanisms are available for playground renewals?
- School districts are able to apply for the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s Playground Equipment Program (PEP) grant. This is a relatively new program established in 2018 to provide specific funding to purchase and install new or replacement playground equipment that is:
- Universal in design;
- Supports inclusion and accessibility for all children; and
- In compliance with the latest accessibility measures as defined through the Canadian Standards Association.
The current funding available through the PEP grant is $165,000 per approved project. The school district is able to submit up to three PEP projects annually for the Ministry’s consideration.
- The City of North Vancouver (CNV) has a funding mechanism through its Civic Amenity Reserve Fund for playground enhancements for schools in the City of up to a maximum of $75,000.
- The District of North Vancouver (DNV) does not have an equivalent grant opportunity; however, schools located in the DNV near the CNV boundary can apply to receive up to $37,500 maximum (once in a ten year period) if they meet an enrollment threshold where 25% of the students attending a school reside in the CNV.
- When funds are available, the school district has supplemented PEP projects to ensure each one has a poured in place (PIP) rubberized safety surface to maximize accessibility and inclusion for all children/play space users.
- Fundraising efforts and contributions from local Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) are also welcome to support PEP projects. PACs often seek out other grants to further enhance playground projects. The links below are for grants that some PACs have been successful in receiving to complement new PAC-funded play spaces:
How are projects determined and prioritized for Ministry PEP consideration?
Each year, the school district reviews all elementary schools that have not yet received PEP funding and consider the following factors:
- Number of enrolled students
- Number of students with diverse abilities and disabilities and their specific needs
- Play area available
- Play area per enrolled student
- Play space accessibility
- Adjacency to nearby play spaces (municipal)
This comprehensive review is done through the lens of ensuring equity between schools within the school district. The top three priorities for that year are then recommended to the Board of Education at a public board meeting as part of our annual minor capital plan submission.
What are the next steps once funding as been secured?
Once a project is approved/awarded by the Ministry:
- The school district’s Facilities and Maintenance department works closely with the school’s administration, physical therapist and PAC to ensure we have optimized the design quality and maximized the value that can be achieved with the available funding.
- Request for design proposals are then obtained to proceed to design.
- Once a design is complete, the project is competitively tendered.
Should you have any questions about the playground at your child’s school, please connect with the school’s Principal.