On Wednesday, a grand opening was held for a playground built inside the lobby of the Kenn Borek Aquatic Centre. The project was funded by the Success By 6/Children First initiative, with support from the City of Dawson Creek, the Northern Lights College Foundation, and the Tire Stewardship BC.

“We do have plenty of outdoor playgrounds, but they don’t do anyone any good in the winter months, so that’s why we insisted on an indoor playground because that is what parent surveys have been telling us over and over again. Their little ones are bouncing off the walls during the long winter months because they had no outlet for that energy,” said Heidy Kux-Kardos, coordinator in the South Peace for Success By 6/Children First.

She said the playground includes a small climbing feature, some manipulative elements such as a steering wheel, and a double slide. The playground is built on 520 square feet of 1.5 inch-thick flooring made from recycled tires, which made it possible to receive a grant from Tire Stewardship BC that will cover half the cost of the flooring and installation.

She added the playground is for zero to five year olds, so it is built to be safe and not too challenging.

Kux-Kardos said the indoor playground has been proposed for nearly five years now, but the challenge was always finding an appropriate venue. She said she is grateful for the support of the City of Dawson Creek for making the lobby of the aquatic centre available, which she said is a great location.  

“So many young moms with little ones go swimming in the morning, so afterwards or before the kids can do their climbing and playing. Also, when the older kids are doing swimming lessons and mom is sitting in the foyer with preschoolers who are too young for swimming lessons they can spend that time playing in the playground.”

She added it is also a great compliment to the climbing walls for youth and adults that are also located in the foyer.

Kux-Kardos said now that the project is complete, she can focus on the next one, which is another indoor playground to be located in the new Kiwanis Early Learning Hub, a centre for early childhood development and resources that is being constructed inside the former Kiwanis Enterprise Centre near the high school.

Success by 6 has also funded playgrounds at Kitchen Park and Rotary Lake in Dawson Creek. The initiative – which seeks to support the emotional, social, physical and cognitive development of children ages 0 to six – is supported in British Columbia by the Credit Unions of BC, the United Way, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.