Nanaimo school recieves grant from Rick Hansen Foundation

NANAIMO – Rick Hansen Foundation Access4All Barrier Buster money to go to McGirr school project.

A project to re-design McGirr Elementary School’s playground will benefit from an infusion of $30,000.

McGirr’s parent advisory council is in the midst of fundraising efforts to upgrade the school playground with wheelchair-accessible features. It learned March 7 that it had been granted the money from the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Access4All program, which aims to remove barriers for people with disabilities.

Leanne Lee, council chairwoman, said the entire project has a price tag of about $104,000 and thus far, her group has raised about $75,000.

“[The money is] going into the project account, so it goes towards the whole project,” said Lee. “Obviously the whole playground is not wheelchair accessible, but they’re going to be able to get around the whole playground and then they’ll be able to access specific areas that they can specifically play in.”

The council is envisioning a resurfacing of the school’s playground with rubber matting, in order to make it accessible for people who use wheelchairs.

“We’re going to have a wheelchair-accessible swing and some areas where there’s rubber surfacing that the wheelchair can manoeuvre in and about,” said Lee. “Different features like, one is a musical note centre and some gathering spaces that can include wheelchair accessiblity, but also a general play area.”

Lee said the council is hoping that work can be completed by the end of September, but it is waiting for news on other grants and the project plan will need approval from Nanaimo school district.

The council must use $10,000 of the Access4All money to host a community awareness event, which can include ribbon-cutting or ground-breaking ceremonies.