By Lindsay Briscoe
The Kinsmen Beach play structures were a hot topic at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting as council and staff discussed a municipal report initiated in response to a petition which surfaced around town a little over a month ago urging locals to push for a replacement of the play structures at the beach.
Once the petition came out, the calls to the Municipality started to come in.
“We’ve been sitting here waiting and I thought well, we might as well get ahead of the petition so when it comes in council has the information and we can reply to it,” said Municipal CAO Brian Anderson.
He went on to say the Municipality follows a schedule of inspections on all municipal play structures as per the requirements. The recreation supervisor and operations superintendent also checked the condition of the structures shortly after the Municipality learned of the petition.
“It’s not bad playground equipment,” says operations superintendent Todd Olson. “It’s a steel structure. Any of the wood on there – walking surfaces – are made out of treated timbers. I think if you ask any child if that was there or nothing at all, they’d rather it was there.”
To replace a play structure is expensive, added Olson. If the Municipality were to replace the Kinsmen Beach equipment with something similar to what Goldcorp purchased and installed last year at the Kelson’s Farm subdivision it would cost the Municipality about $50,000 before landscaping and other related costs.
But the Municipality would not have the money in its budget to replace it right away anyway advise Councillors.
“A $70,000 playground is a one per cent tax increase and I don’t think taxpayers realize that,” said Councillor Debra Shushack. “There are five communities. It’s tough to do.”
A couple of councillors suggested eventually taking down the Kinsmen Beach structure and “returning the area to nature.” There are several other playgrounds in the area where parents can bring their children, they said.
“You can’t do everything everywhere,” added Councillor Shushack.
“As long as we deem it safe – certified safe – leave it alone,” added Mayor Phil Vinet. “When it becomes unsafe, knock it down and the budget process will determine when it’s replaced.”
The Northern Sun News has attempted to track down the author of the petition who was still unknown at the time of press.