Contractor makes playground challenge
Nov. 27, 2007

Anderson elementary school sits in an area of Richmond surrounded by explosive growth. Everywhere, there are new townhouses, and where there are not townhouses, there are cranes and empty lots being prepared for future condos.

Anderson elementary school sits in an area of Richmond surrounded by explosive growth. Everywhere, there are new townhouses, and where there are not townhouses, there are cranes and empty lots being prepared for future condos.

The Parent Advisory Committee at Anderson hopes the companies behind the development will give back to their community and help the school build a new playground. Anderson’s original playground was burned down this summer, one of several burned in a rash of playground arsons.

Playground committee chairperson Donna Davis said it was at a PAC meeting when a parent suggested approaching construction companies.

“She said, ‘Look at all the cranes — why don’t we start talking to these people?’ and so we did,” Davis said.

One company, Am-Pri Construction Ltd, has committed to making a $10,000 donation towards the playground.

“First of all Polygon gave us $1,000 and I thought that was just fabulous. Then this gentleman walked in and said he would like to give us $10,000 and to try to get other companies to match his donation,” Anderson’ principal Craig Worthing said.

Am-Pri’s general manager, Amit Sandhu wants other nearby businesses to “join this program to create something special, not only for Anderson elementary school, but also for the surrounding community as a whole.”

Sandhu is challenging 10 other local businesses to raise a total of $100,000 in donations. Charitable tax receipts are available for donations of more than $20 made to Richmond schools or the school board. To date the effort has raised $16,000.

Sandhu’s letter says that as a local businessman he has a direct stake in the community. “We must come together when unfortunate events affect the way we live, work, or in this case, play,” the letter says. “After all, a strong community can be the foundation of individual or organizational success.”

Police arrested five people –four youths and one adult; all residents of Richmond — in connection with last summer’s playground fires. The school district said insurance would cover the playground losses after the provincial government included playgrounds as school facilities.

Worthing said insurance will cover the replacement value of the old playground, less a $3,000 deductible, but the question is exactly how much will it will cover.

The original playground was built about 10 years ago for approximately $35,000. Anderson is home to about 450 students, nearly double the 200 the original playground was built to accommodate.

Estimates for a new playground, which will be accessible for kids with disabilities, range from$100,000 to as high as $180,000.

In the meantime, students play with balls and skipping ropes that were purchased to make up for the loss of the playground.

The students at Anderson have been busy brainstorming, writing and colouring their ideas for a new playground. Among the more popular suggestions: a toy castle, giant slides, a big tree house or a bridge with real water underneath it.

“Hopefully what we build will still be here in 20 years,” Davis said.

If you are interested in donating towards the new playground at Anderson, please call the school at 604-668-6355.

© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

BY RICHMOND NEWS NOVEMBER 27, 2007

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