District of Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven was at Pioneer Park Wednesday morning to unveil a new playbox for local kids and visitors.

District of Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven was at Pioneer Park Wednesday morning to unveil a new playbox for local kids and visitors.

Playbox opens in Pioneer Park

A new "playbox" in Pioneer Park in Agassiz, is aimed at promoting healthier living.

As part of an initiative to encourage healthy lifestyles in Agassiz children, a playbox opened in Pioneer Park on Wednesday, June 29.

Kristen Patrice, recreation programmer for the District of Kent, explained that the box is filled with equipment for children to use while at the park.

“The intention for the playbox is that it is available in the park and stocked with physical activity equipment, like footballs and soccer balls, that the community can access through a combination lock,” she said.

While everyone is welcome to use the contents of the box, a combination code is required. Agassiz residents are required to register with the District of Kent to gain access to the code.

“The reason for the registration is so that we can keep users updated with any changes, or if we had to change the code for any reason,” Patrice said. “It’s a simple registration process to fill out the form and after that they’re on our list.”

One of the reasons that the combination code method was chosen, was so that community members could use the box whenever it was convenient for them, rather than during scheduled time.

“There’s no cost involved and no time or scheduling – it’s at their leisure,” Patrice said.

Agassiz isn’t the first community to offer the program to its community members. Ten playboxes are available in various communities in the Lower Mainland including Chilliwack, Hope, and Abbotsford.

The implementation of the play box is a partnership between the Agassiz Harrison Health Communities Committee and the Children’s Hospital’s SCOPE (Sustainable Childhood Obesity Prevention through Community Engagement) initiative, with funds provided by the Fraser Valley Shrine Club.

Officially called the Live 5210 Playbox, the box is intended to promote the Live 5210 plan for healthy living, which encourages children to eat more fruits and vegetable, drink less sugared drinks, have no more than two hours of screen time each day, and play actively for at least one hour each day.

Patrice noted that while the purpose of the box is to promote healthy lifestyles, it also creates opportunities for family activities.

“It benefits the community primarily by removing barriers and presenting recreational opportunities in the park,” she said. “It encourages children to play actively for at least one hour each day, and it allows children to get out and families to connect.”

Community members can register for access to the play box at the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre.