A well designed play-space is not child’s play

Designs for no fewer than six play spaces are being considered up and down the North Thompson Valley

In the Thompson-Headwaters services committee playground across from the Avola log schoolhouse

Editor, The Times:

Playgrounds are a hot topic.

New designs for no fewer than six play spaces are being considered up and down the North Thompson Valley at this very moment.

• Thomson Headwaters Services Committee has been advised by its insurance inspector that play equipment in Blue River must be removed.

• The playground the THSC owns in Avola has a 25-year-old wooden adventure structure, a much loved but out-dated dino-climber and a standard merry-go-round that are now considered unsafe.

• Raft River PAC is requesting a new design for play space for its intermediate and senior students.

• Star Lake Women’s Institute, Blackpool Hall Committee and TNRD will be making decisions for developing a playground behind the Blackpool Hall.

• Rotary Club is looking into a proposal for a spray park.

• Dr. Mackenzie hopes to develop the abandoned planer mill site for the benefit of play, education, tourist attraction and cultural events.

A little research into the topic indicates that a well designed play-space is not child’s play.

Fascinating web pages open the imagination while guarding the children’s safety and allowing physical challenges as well as social interactions, creative experiences and a cultural expression the community wishes to convey.

A new trend to use natural materials in safe public playgrounds makes previously expected standard equipment look out-of-date.

With a little ingenuity of design, children visiting these six new play spaces in the North Thompson valley might get to experience things they do not otherwise get to do in a school or city setting. It is something to consider.

Tourists with children arriving from many parts of the world….

How long have they been sitting in an airplane?

How long have they been driving?

What can they learn about Canada, rivers, mountains, animals, etc?

How much do they want to explore, pretend, imagine and participate in the scenery all around them? As they travel for days through the mountainside, what would they rather do: Get to a playground and it is the same equipment they have in the city? Or get to a playground where they can experience, learn, and remember their trip to Canada’s wilderness?

These web pages stimulate ideas:

• space2place.com/#/sfu-childcare Did you know that stumps with roots are acceptable climbing equipment?

• www.naturalplaygrounds.ca This web page explains the designers purpose, benefits, safety, advantages, and includes a catalogue of components to order when you design your own play space.

• dads4play Shares their philosophy: “Through play we learn to problem solve, to share, to act independently.”

playgroundology Alex Smith is the editor of this web page sharing discussions and designs from around the world including a confrontation between irate parents and the police after an empty lot was transformed by volunteers to be a play space and the government tried to tear it down.

• Google “Eric Scragg” (a Canadian of international fame) to see some amazing woodworks for playgrounds.

Gardens, mazes, slopes, rocks, logs, historic or geographical features, emphasis on the setting and not the manufactured structure are components of play spaces designed for ecologically conscious communities in beautiful British Columbia.

Imagine the potential of six new play-spaces to explore, each with unique dynamics and each becoming a memorable part of a child’s ever-increasing life experience. Imagine the potential for community input as the designs take shape and skilled individuals offer to share this opportunity.

Eleanor Deckert,


Avola, B.C.



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