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Harrison beach to get $94,000 playground

A depiction of the playground to be installed this year on Harrison’s beach, as presented to council on Monday night. The project will be funded through RMI funding, and is part of a larger strategic plan to improve the tourism experience in the Village.  - SWING TIME ILLUSTRATION
A depiction of the playground to be installed this year on Harrison’s beach, as presented to council on Monday night. The project will be funded through RMI funding, and is part of a larger strategic plan to improve the tourism experience in the Village.
— image credit: SWING TIME ILLUSTRATION

The playground equipment on Harrison's beachfront was described as "seriously lacking" by Councillor John Buckley at Monday night's council meeting.

But the aging structures won't be around for long. Council voted unanimously to devote up to $100,000 of RMI funds to two modern playground structures.

"Development of a new playground around the beachfront is one of the (Village's) priorities," said Andre Isakov, manager of planning and community services. The upgrade is part of the Harrison Village RMI Strategy, which outlines visions and goals for the community. There are six major projects in that strategy, including "beach and lagoon improvements."

That larger project earmarks $596,000 in RMI funds. The project goal is to improve pathways and the beach area, install a splash park for children, a fountain in the lagoon, and improve the playground area, as a way to promote the waterfront area.

The proposed cost of the playground project is $94,000, and would include two play areas for different age groups.

The playground will look similar to the one recently installed in Spring Park, which was funded with RMI funds, as well as through a monetary gift of $25,000 from Kingma Brothers Development — part of a development deal for the townhouse development across from the Village office.

The company that the Village is working with for the beachfront park is Swing Time.

Councillor Sonja Reyerse said that working with the local Parent Advisory Council, she learned how expensive playgrounds can be.

"These things are horrifically expensive," she conceded, but that they are worth it in the end.

"I think for a lot of visitors who come here, it's a great thing for their kids to do," she added.

Councillor John Buckley also said he's looking forward to seeing a change on the beach.

"The playground on the beach is seriously lacking," he said.

While the current play equipment will be removed, the swing set will stay.

Other items included in the RMI Strategy include washrooms at Rendall Park, developing the hot springs source into a more accessible tourism asset, streetscape improvements, increased awareness for events and festivals, and trail development.

The estimated budget for RMI funding (which is collected at the point of sale on hotel stays through taxation) is $1.53 million over five years. This breaks down to $307,000 each year from 2012 to 2016.

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