When the Town of Ladysmith informed us that they had to take down the Kinsmen Playground at Kin Park/Brown Drive, it was more disappointment than it was surprise. Not only had our club built the playground back in 1995 but we had designed it as well.
We had done all the fundraising, scrounging of materials and labour and all the other legwork to make it happen. The playground had become very popular and needed. The north end of Ladysmith would have NO playground area for children or families to go to! Children now a days do not get enough exercise or opportunity to use their imaginations in a productive environment. It gave families a place to have time outdoors together.
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When we made the decision to rebuild a new playground at Kin Park we realized that times and rules had changed. Projects now had to be “child proof”. They had to be designed so that the liability risks were minimized. No longer were we able to “go out and build a playground”, we had to get partners.
Our club is very fortunate in that we have great rapport with the Town of Ladysmith. Over the years the projects we have done have been very successful and the Town knew that if Kinsmen said they were going to do something… it would be done and done well!
Projects such as playgrounds also cost big dollars! We knew that and the days of bottle drives, walk-a-thons, etc, to raise the amount of money needed to build such structures were over. We needed partners. Our club went out to the community and they saw that there was a need for a new playground and many answered the call.
We all anticipated the start! Above Kinsmen members as well as
community volunteers get ready to start construction of phase one
during spring break 2011
The responses we started to get really added to the momentum we already had. The Town put money in their budget as well we had received confirmation of a grant from the Province of BC. We went on a letter writing campaign and that not only brought more dollars but was instrumental in increasing the awareness. Other groups also recognized the need and were quick to help out the Kinsmen.
The local Fraternal Order of Eagles as well as Branch 171 of the Legion got involved. The Chamber of Commerce also supported the project as well as a grant from the Nanaimo Foundation and the Co-Op. The local Credit Union also saw the benefits of children and family activities, and like they do with almost every community project, they contributed $10,000.
The pastor from the Oceanview Community Church also approached us and they wanted to become part of the playground so created the “Eggs Benefit”. This has turned into a very great partnership and not only did they do their own fundraising for the playground, they also turned out for all the workparties and fundraisers.
This playground was built along the lines of the very successful playground that the club had built at Transfer Beach.
For each phase we had many volunteers from different organizations. It might have the Kinsmen name on it, but the playground was truly a community effort.