LETTER: Aldergrove needs year-round access to public playground

Waterpark playground should be open to all Aldergrove children

Dear Editor,

Our community would like to see the new playground at the Otter Coop Outdoor Experience closed to the waterpark and open to the public all year.

Since the announcement of the facility, we have been advocating for access to our new community rec centre and asking for improvements on the design.

At first, the playground was to be included with the Otter Coop Outdoor Experience during the waterpark season, and would be closed from October until May when the waterpark was not open.

We found this to be unacceptable, and came to a compromise with facility manager Jason Windslade. The playground would still be part of the waterpark and have a fee when it was open, but a second gate was added to the outside, allowing our community access during the rest of the year.

This past year many children in our community have enjoyed the playground while attending programs and events at our rec centre. Many families plan their day in our downtown to include a visit to our only downtown playground.

When I brought my children to the waterpark for the first time this year, I witnessed Township staff directing all the children out of the playground five minutes before the waterpark was opening.

It was unfortunate having to watch little kids who all had wristbands and had paid to be able to use the facility being told to leave. They went back to their parents in the line.

Of course, once everyone was let into the waterpark, not one child went into the playground.

We stayed for two hours, and not one child went into the playground until after 5:30 p.m.

The host staff sat there patiently waiting for people. When two kids finally came, because they were about to leave the waterpark and asked their mother if they could play before leaving, they were met at the door and were asked to dry off and put on their shoes.

Last year there was a sign of guidelines that has since been removed. I’m assuming that is why a host is now stationed in the playground.

Considering these guidelines and the lack of children playing in that area during the waterpark sessions, it would make sense to have the playground open for free all year to the public, and not part of the waterpark.

We need to consider if the Aldergrove Recreation Centre was built for Aldergrove residents, and what is best for our local children, or if the Otter Coop Outdoor Experience is the priority.

Cashmere Roder, Vice President, Aldergrove Community Association

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