Alberta directs $20M over 4 years for new school playgrounds

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 3, 2017

Friday's announcement is part of a $20 million the government promised to go towards playgrounds in the 2017 budget.

Alberta's environment minister upped the ante in the cross-border war of words on Thursday, saying the B.C. Green Party leader is "hypocritical in the extreme" for his recent comments about Premier Rachel Notley.

The previous model for playground funding required the school itself to raise half of the $250,000 and then apply for a grant from the province to pay the other half.

"I can speak personally (about this)", Notley said.

In Edmonton, there are a total of 16 new schools expected to open this year, five in the Edmonton Catholic School District, and eleven under Edmonton Public Schools.

The grants will be retroactive to 2014, so that more than 50 previously announced schools will be eligible.

"We want our kids to dream big and we want to make sure they have the tools that they need to realize their big dreams".

Calgary Board of Education board chair Joy Bowen-Eyre said they know playgrounds are one of the first places students and families connect in their communities so the grant is a great opportunity to help them create those spaces without a financial burden. "If that playground already got a [Culture & Tourism] grant, it is possible to switch that out with the grant announced today".

If the school needs more than $250,000 to build the desired playground, the extra funds will need to be raised by the school itself.

"Playgrounds are an essential part of all students' school experiences", said Justin Murray, a parent and member of the Vista Heights School Council and Parent Enhancement Society.

"Our children deserve safe outdoor play areas that encourage engagement while they learn and develop their physical and social skills during free time and recess", he said.

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