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Four East Kootenay schools get funds for playgroundsPosted: June 24, 2012

Two elementary schools in Cranbrook, one in Kimberley and another in Invermere June 21 received funding support from the provincial government to put toward new playgrounds.

In total, $150,000 was delivered to the School District No. 5 and No. 6 schools, which are about to shut their doors for summer break.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett personally delivered $50,000 to Cranbrook’s Pinewood Elementary School June 21 and announced the new playground to the entire student body, gathered outside at the location where the new playground will be located.

The loud cheer told Bennett his announcement was well-received.

“Usually government funding isn’t about monkey business, but this payment sure is! Kids need a proper place to be active and get silly. That’s what recess and playgrounds are all about. I’m sure the kids at these schools will be thrilled,” Bennett stated.

“Pinewood Elementary truly appreciates the government recognizing the need for playgrounds within our province and making it a priority to help supply money for both new and upgraded playgrounds. As one of the smaller schools within SD 5, providing a newer playground for our students has felt like a daunting prospect. We’d like to thank MLA Bill Bennett and the SD 5 Board of Education for their support and helping to bring us that much closer to our goal,” said Pinewood Parent Advisory Council secretary Debbie Therrien.

TM Roberts Elementary School was later in the morning given $25,000. Additionally, Lindsay Park Elementary School in Kimberley is receiving $50,000 and Invermere’s Eileen Madson Primary School is getting $25,000.

In total, the provincial government is allocating $3.3 million in playground funding for 80 schools across all 60 school districts.

This is the final phase of an $8 million playground funding commitment made by Premier Christy Clark and Education Minister Abbott last September for elementary and middle schools in British Columbia. It brings the total number of schools benefiting from the two-year playground funding program to 227 across the province.

For the first phase of the program, the B.C. government provided more than $2 million to 23 school districts for new playground equipment at 41 priority middle and elementary schools without playgrounds.

Under the second phase, 106 Parent Advisory Councils in 34 school districts are being reimbursed over $2.4 million for the purchase of new playground equipment.

Above photo: Pinewood Elementary in Cranbrook celebrates its playground funding. From left to right: PAC Secretary Debbie Therrien , PAC Vice Chair Kim MacBride, PAC Chair Susan Costello, MLA Bill Bennett, Pinewood School Principal Karen Giles, School District 5 Superintendent Bill Gook, and School District 5 Secretary/Treasurer Rob Norum.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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