By Loreth Beswetherick
There are 540 little reasons why key players in the community rallied together to see a year-long $52,000 project through to its fruition, and they were all gathered in the Myrtle Philip school gymnasium to say thank-you early last week.
The 540 Myrtle Philip elementary students were on hand to give a hearty round of applause to those who helped make their new primary and intermediate playgrounds a reality. The Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation and the municipality each chipped in $20,000 towards the project. The Parent Advisory council forked over $8,000 and the No Show Ball fund-raiser brought in a further $5,000. It was all pulled together with generous labour support and more donations of equipment and supplies.
Principal Bob Daly thanked his young charges for their patience and their appreciation of the new playground equipment. Although Monday, Nov. 8 was the official opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the playgrounds, the new equipment had already seen some enthusiastic use.
Jane Reid, who headed up the playground committee formed shortly after the first Parent Advisory Committee meeting last year, said the initial committee goal was to make a difference by the fall of 1999. She said that has now been more than accomplished. She added the overall cost of the project would have been much higher without generous community help and support.
The playground committee members, including Reid, Daly, vice principal Nick Pascuzzi, Gary Pringle, Leslie Patterson and Carol Bayliss, thanked the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation for their donation of $20,000 last June which allowed for the purchase of the primary play structure plus gravel and borders for the area near the bus loop.
The municipality chipped in with a $20,000 grant-in-aid used to buy the intermediate structure plus tether balls, climbing dome, parallel bars and basketball hoop. The RMOW also donated staff and time to help plan and install the structures.
Reid said the school district went out of its way to help with the project. She said the special efforts of Rick Hume, director of facilities and services, allowed the district to enlarge the playground area behind the school to compensate for land lost to the four new portables. The district also donated gravel, borders and labour costs to help install the play structures and swings.
"The playground committee has been working for one year on this project and we are delighted with the results," said Reid. "While it has been a lot of hard work, one of the best things about this project has been the co-operation and support from the Whistler-Blackcomb Foundation, the municipality and the school district. We had some difficult issues to resolve including the siting of the new equipment and the costs," she said. "We really appreciate the way everyone worked together to address these problems in the best way possible. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the results and to watch the children enjoying all the new equipment, not just during recess, but after school and on weekends as well."
Reid herself was rewarded for her efforts with a bouquet of flowers from the children.
Thanks also went out to Barry Combs and his bobcat for spreading gravel on weekends; Charlie Doyle for the signs; Sabre for free equipment and a good deal on gravel; Susan Butler at Whistler-Blackcomb for designing No Show Ball invitations; Mountain FM for publicity; parents who donated funds to the No Show Ball; the RMOW’s Bill Barratt and Dave Patterson plus Kevin McFarland for drawing site maps; Robin Purcell for posters; Andrée Janyk and Bob Calladine for soccer goals and lines; Bruce Dangerfield and Mike Philips for their work; Dave Littleboy for photographs and all those moms and dads who raked, shovelled and hammered in plugs, plus No Show Ball organizers Patterson, Kathy Podborski, Marilyn Crichton, Lori Laidlaw and Anette Coombs.