A local group of parents have banded together to raise money to build a new playground in the Three Sisters area of Canmore.
Since August 2017 the group has raised $71,000, however, the final cost to replace the aging structure used by students from École Notre-Dame des Monts and Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy will likely cost closer to $250,000.
“We technically started the process in September 2016 where it was initiated by Sophie Leclair, the principal for École Notre-Dame des Monts,” said Marcia Kinash, one of four parents spearheading the fundraising efforts.
“She brought it up at a parent council meeting because she recognized the need for a new playground with the growing number of students.”
According to Kinash, the playground was originally constructed in 2006 by Three Sisters Mountain Village before the schools were built, however, the playground wasn’t finished because of a lack of funds.
In 2008, the Town of Canmore took over the land, but in recent years some of the structures on it no longer meet today’s safety standards and the Town doesn’t intend to replace it until the end of its lifecycle in 2026.
“It’s not adequate based on the number of students that we currently have,” said Kinash, adding there are approximately 800 students between the two schools.
“There’s no slide, there’s no monkey bars, there’s no real structure.”
While the playground is located in front of both schools, she stressed it’s not just for students.
“This project will affect everybody, not just the two schools,” said Kinash. “So many people play sports up at our field, whether it’s baseball or soccer, and it would be nice to have a proper playground right beside.”
To make the project more feasible, the Town suggested the group break the project into two phases.
The first phase will include replacing the wooden and spinning structures as well as removing boulders. Phase one is expected to begin this summer and is estimated to cost somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000.
The second phase includes replacing pea gravel with a rubber crumble surface, which is estimated to cost $130,000.
To reach its $250,000 target, the group also intends to apply for a variety of local and provincial grants and approach more local businesses to sponsor the project.
To help raise more money for the project, the group will host an evening fundraiser at Mount Norquay on March 3.
The event includes discounted ski passes with $5 from every ticket donated to the project. The discounted rates are only available when purchased in advance through www.eventbrite.ca and range from $20 for an adult to $10 for children between the age of six and 12.
Nightly tube passes will also be discounted at the same rate, with $5 donated from each ticket given to the cause.
Organizers will also give away door prizes and a silent auction will be held to raise additional money. The event begins at 5 p.m. and the group hopes to raise a total of $2,500.
In addition to the fundraiser, Mount Norquay has also chosen the community project as the charity of the day for its April 11 Toonie Day at the ski hill. On that day, Alberta residents can purchase a lift ticket for $2 with the option of donating money to the playground project.
For more information about the fundraiser on March 2, and to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.nightoffundraiser.eventbrite.ca.