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Timetable for work on community project drawing near

Playground scene at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary will soon be a lot different once work on its community playground project begins, boosted by the AVIVA Community fund win. Kids are anxious in the back for the transformation. Front, from left: Adam Clutchey, Mona Kaiser, Ken Matthews, Ian Zibin and Pedro Mengual. - Don Bodger
Playground scene at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary will soon be a lot different once work on its community playground project begins, boosted by the AVIVA Community fund win. Kids are anxious in the back for the transformation. Front, from left: Adam Clutchey, Mona Kaiser, Ken Matthews, Ian Zibin and Pedro Mengual.
— image credit: Don Bodger

The community playground project at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary, bolstered by the AVIVA Community Fund, will soon start taking shape.

“The plans are well under way,’’ noted Ecole Mount Prevost Parent Advisory Committee president Adam Clutchey. “We plan to order equipment in April, start prepping April and May, and start installing everything in the middle of June and install mostly over the summer and be all ready to go for the kids in September when they get back.’’

The AVIVA win was worth $125,000, about $60,000 short of the original budget.

But with money the PAC had already saved plus money School District 79 was willing to kick in for installation costs, it cut into the shortfall considerably.

And the whole concept of the project prompted others to jump on board — like Ken Matthews of Speedy Glass Duncan with a $5,000 donation.

“One of my employees, his kids go here (Mount Prevost),’’ said Matthews. “He was telling me how his kids have to alternate their recess times.’’

Matthews was sold on the need for improved playground equipment at the school and the community aspect was a bonus that led him to contribute.

“It was before they actually won the money,’’ he said. “Who would have thought in reality our school here was going to win this nation-wide contest.’’

Matthews used to be on the PAC at the school and remembers what it was like in the good old days when installing things like playground equipment was much simpler, but he didn’t have any reservations about contributing.

“We didn’t have the issues — these problems of money — when we went to school,’’ he said. “We did something we felt would be good for the community.

“You’ve got to give something back. These are the people that made our business successful. It’s time to give something back to them.’’

Taking into account the Speedy Glass donation, the project was $39,500 short. Money from North Cowichan is anticipated but not a sure thing so the range required is between $21,000 to $40,000.

“One solution would be to scale back the project, the other to solicit more funds,’’ noted Kaiser.

“I think there is a desire out there in the community to help us out with our project, but at the same time we don’t want to sound unreasonable and not thankful for the support we have already received.’’

There are ways people can contribute to spruce up the site.

“If someone wanted to donate a bench or a picnic table, we’d be happy to help them with that,’’ said Kaiser.

“Shrubbery, little things like that, as well,’’ said Ecole Mount Prevost principal Pedro Mengual.

“A number of school families here said they’d donate shrubbery and trees,’’ said Kaiser. “We’re just waiting for that stage to see what we need.’’

Inquiries about those sorts of contributions can be made by email to Clutchey (adamclutchey@shaw.ca) or Kaiser (mona.kaiser@shaw.ca) or by calling the school (250-746-7187).

Social media boosted the Ecole Mount Prevost group’s efforts. “If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have got anywhere,’’ said Clutchey.

“It’s nice to see the whole community come together,’’ said Mengual. “It is going to be a community project. It’s nice to see everyone involved. It gave us a cause to focus on.’’

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