Municipality has plans for playground

This playground in Arichat was closed by the municipality but there are plans to repair and restore it once a new community group assumes ownership.

ARICHAT: The municipality is prepared to make repairs to a local playground once a community group is formed to oversee it.

District 1 municipal councillor James Goyetche said he received “quite a few calls” from Isle Madame residents about the condition of the playground which is behind the former municipal building and Active Living Centre on Veteran’s Memorial Drive in Arichat.

Goyetche then surveyed the playground for himself, and after agreeing it was unsafe, took the matter to council last summer.

“I closed the playground because it’s not safe for young kids and I don’t want the municipality to be liable,” Goyetche explained last week.

The veteran councillor said it was determined that the group overseeing the playground had dwindled to two members, and was trying to pay the insurance themselves.

After receiving approval to spend up to $10,000, Goyetche said he contacted the Departments of Recreation and Public Works to replace the gravel, benches, swings, and the slide. He said the municipality wants to use aluminum equipment because it is more durable.

Goyetche said once a new group is formed and is willing to take on the responsibility, they will have to send the municipality a notice of their intention to break the original lease. Because the playground rests on municipal land, he said this new organization will then have to sign a new lease to assume ownership.

But as soon as that original lease is broken, Goyetche said municipal crews can start their work immediately.

“Recreation and public works will fix it up, then it’s up to the community to maintain it… and make sure no one is damaging it.”

Once this new group is in place and a lease is signed, Goyetche expects there will be restrictions on who can use the playground – such as unsupervised young people and teenagers – as well as how and when the playground can be used.

“If it’s not taken care of, then it’ll be closed for good,” Goyetche added.