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Signal Hill pupils ask for $10,000 for new playground

Youngsters make presentation to Pemberton Council

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Signal Hill pupils may be too young to vote but they now know how to tell politicians about what they want.

The 28 Grade 4 and 5 elementary school students presented their case for a new $60,000 playground and outdoor classroom for their school, and requested $10,000 from the Village of Pemberton at its council meeting on May 21.

Five youngsters spoke for their delegation, telling council they had already raised $20,000 from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and $10,000 from the Fairmont Foundation. They had also raised funds in a bake sale, and by selling poinsettias, oranges and hot lunches.

As well, they turned the quest to create support for the playground into a learning experience, which was described as "a true community project."

They said the Howe Sound School District would also be approached for help to build the playground.

"We discovered there was not a lot out there for kids our age," one girl told council, adding that the current playground was too small for the 250 students who use it. The swings currently used are thought to be about 40 years old, while much of the remaining playground structure is around 30 years old.

Mayor Jordan Sturdy was presented with the playground plan, which had been recommended by Signal Hill's Parent Advisory Committee.

Project manager Graham Murphy told council that along with the $30,000 raised so far, another $30,000 had been pledged for in-kind donations in addition to the total cost.

"The kids have been very involved... there has been a large educational component," he said.

Council moved to send a letter to the school district to find out more about requirements for the project and how the district could be involved in making it happen.

Report on Birkenhead River crisis

Councillor Mike Richman reported to council on the recent near-flooding of the Birkenhead River.

"I don't think everybody is aware of quite the extend of the level of risk we were at with the Birkenhead," said Richman. "We just stayed ahead of the water."

He said they noticed the water was coming over a section of dike and was starting to carve a new path. Large trucks and diggers were employed to move debris and reinforce and extend the dike. The priority had been to move the debris as quickly as possible.

"This is great for now. They did a great job managing the emergency, it was pretty close to an emergency," Richman said. There had been considerable coordination between Squamish-Lillooet Regional District staff, Lil'wat First Nations and other workers.

"They mitigated a very, very big risk," he said. Among other things, Mount Currie's wells remain at risk from Birkenhead flooding.

Money to extend the new dike another 700 metres has been applied for, Richman said. They hope to get $180,000 for work to be carried out in 2014.

He also praised daily updates given to residents by executive assistant Bettina Falloon of the Village of Pemberton and emergency coordinator Ryan Wainwright of the SLRD.

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