Local volunteers launch building of Jumpstart accessible playground

Volunteers helped start construction on an upcoming accessible playground. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

Soon children will immerse in bright-coloured slides, monkey bars and swings where wheelchairs or walkers won’t limit their play.

Prince Albert will have an accessible playground at Alfred Jenkins Field House this October, where over 20 volunteers gathered Thursday morning to kickoff construction.

The initiative is part of Canadian Tire Jumpstart’s Play Finds A Way movement, a five-year commitment contributing $50 million for kids of all abilities to have fun.

According to President Scott Fraser, they’re building an accessible playground in every province and territory in the next five years.

“To me, it’s a necessity of life. Play gives kids that opportunity to socialize; it gives them the opportunity to make new friends, build self confidence,” he said. “It’s also an education—to learn to play together and appreciate each other’s abilities.”

Corley Bonk from Calgary was volunteering for the day.

She won the trip by entering a contest, where she had to explain what Jumpstart means to her.

Growing up in Saskatchewan and being a single mom, building an accessible playground here made her emotional.

“I always get a little teary when I talk about it. It’s just joy…it’s bringing joy to me to be able to bring joy to other people,” said Bonk.

Mayor Greg Dionne was also on site.

Mayor Greg Dionne dons a hard hat at the site of the future accessible playground Thursday. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Having Prince Albert as the province’s spot to build is thanks to Malcom Jenkins he said, adding the city is trying to make more public facilities accessible for those with disabilities.

“The other day I was at Kinsmen Park’s playground area there and to see (a) little boy sitting there in the wheelchair, you could imagine what he was thinking. He was looking at all the other kids playing,” said Dionne.

“They want to be part of the community; they want to be involved. I think it’s important that we work hard to make that dream happen,” he said.

The playground will be 10,000 square feet and located beside the future new hospital. There is no timeline for the hospital’s replacement.