FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The rubberized surface proposed at Pickell Park has now been replaced with wood fibre chips specialized for playground use as upgrades are nearly complete.

Ryan Harvey with the City of Fort St. John says that the cost of the rubberized surfacing was “super impractical” for a neighbourhood playground.

He says that the rubberized surfacing will be used in some of the city’s larger parks, but wood fibre was more practical for a neighbourhood playground.

The surfaces are installed under playground equipment to protect users from falls. Harvey says there are multiple surface options available now, such as the previously used gravel.

“One of the challenges with gravel is it doesn’t meet accessibility standards,” he said.

Harvey says the engineered wood fibre meets the ADA standards for accessibility, as the material will start to compact after installation, and wheelchairs can be used on the surface.

Wood fibre has been installed in tens of thousands of parks across North America with “great success,” according to Harvey.

Compared to other wood chips, the fibre used at Pickell Park has drainage capabilities, a 25-year life expectancy, and a warranty, explains Harvey.

Additionally, in a Facebook comment, the City of Fort St. John states that the product meets safety standards for playgrounds and is designed not to splinter.

Harvey encourages worried residents to reach out to the city if there are concerns and they will be addressed.

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.