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News: Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Inclusive and accessible playground opens at McMillan Elementary

With the support of the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Access4All Barrier Buster grant, McMillan Elementary is now one step closer to curating a universally accessible, sustainable, and inclusive outdoor space. On Saturday, September 23rd, provincial and local government delegates, parents, students and community members gathered together to cut the ribbon on McMillan Elementary’s new playground equipment.

The new playground equipment includes a glider with a ramp that allows interactive play through imagination, movement and side-by-side stimulation. The glider features ample room for two wheelchair passengers, as well as twin bench seating to accommodate peers, friends or family.

“I find it fitting that an Abbotsford school is home to this beautiful play area given that Rick Hansen was an elementary student while growing up in our community,” said Shirley Wilson, Chair for the Board of Education. “Along with our current partnerships, we now have a play area that all children can enjoy and play together, because the Man in Motion believes everyone of all ages benefit from being – playing – together.”

The Rick Hansen Foundation, with support from the Government of Canada, launched its Access4All Canada 150 Signature Initiative in September 2016 to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and the 30th anniversary of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour. Access4All is helping Canadians across the country create a more inclusive and accessible Canada by awarding Barrier Buster grants to schools and community groups to improve accessibility in public places and spaces. The Rick Hansen Foundation awarded McMillan Elementary with a $30,000 Barrier Buster grant in February 2017.

Desiree Gauld, a McMillan Elementary parent and PAC member, was one of the key individuals who lead the grant application process and was integral in the planning for this playground equipment.

“We would like to thank our entire community, including students, families, teachers, administrators and the generous support from some of our own local businesses and organizations,” noted Gauld, at Saturday’s celebration. “We have created what I’d like to think of as a legacy, an example of what inclusive play should look like, now and for generations to come. It is a hope that universal design and increased accessibility will be implemented into all community developments to help create a world without limitations for everyone.”

The playground now serves as a school and community hub, that addresses the needs of all children and community members with both visible and invisible disabilities.

Media Contact:

Kayla Stuckart, Manager of Communications
Phone: (604) 859 – 4891 ext. 1206