Playground dilemma for group who received 100 Men donation

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19)
March 13, 2018 - 9:23am

The latest donation from Red Deer’s 100 Men Who Care organization comes at just the right time for a community group looking to provide students with the proper stuff for play time.

100 Men announced last week they’d be giving to the Red Deer Society for Christian Education, which currently has a pair of playground projects on the go.

Kimberley White, a parent at Gateway Christian, is heading the project. She says the group was in the process of raising $365,000 to build a second playground for older students when they received some unfortunate news about a month ago.

Roughly five acres of land to the west of Gateway Christian, which is run by Red Deer Public Schools, has been owned by Chinook’s Edge School Division ever since it operated River Glen Elementary out of the current Gateway building. Chinook’s Edge is now selling that land and has a buyer in place.

The catch is land being sold is home to Gateway Christian’s lone playground, which can’t be relocated elsewhere on school grounds due to safety reasons.

“We noticed our kids who are older than K-3 needed a playground. Their side of the school has a field, a tennis court, a beach volleyball court and they’ve got baseball diamonds, but those aren’t great for in the winter, and they’re for very specific sports that not every kid plays,” White says. “The group of parents got together, designed a playground and we've been fundraising since 2016 for this playground.

White says they’d like to install it this summer. They’ve raised about $240,000.

However, the land sale will leave the younger students without a playground as of May, a new project the society is taking on which will cost about $250,000, according to White.

White adds they are waiting to hear back about a provincial grant application and says says they are extremely grateful to 100 Men for their contribution.

Regardless of who is buying the land to the west of Gateway Christian, which extends to the road just before the Red Deer River, a City of Red Deer spokesperson confirms the land is zoned as Public Service District. Permitted uses include any use for National Defence purposes, and recreation and sport activities. Discretionary uses include assisted living facilities, a concession, campgrounds, and day care facilities.

According to the Waskasoo Area Redevelopment Plan, which addresses this specific site, "Additional studies, such as a Geotechnical Assessment, Traffic Impact Assessment and a Servicing Study shall be required to support an application for development or redevelopment."

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