Administrators of the Battlefords Early Childhood Intervention Program (BECIP) hope North Battleford city hall will find room in the budget for a children's outdoor play space.
The group is asking for the city to provide $50,000, to help cover the design and development of the project planned for Centennial Park.
In turn, BECIP’s board announced it will match a grant up to $50,000 for the project, to celebrate the program's 35th anniversary.
"It offers a wide range of open-ended play for children," BECIP executive director Colleen Sabraw said in her presentation at council’s last meeting. "It has significant benefits to children being out in the outdoors and being able to play in a natural environment space."
She said these types of natural play spaces support childhood development and engagement with the outdoors, and benefit children’s cognitive skills, physical development, social skills, problem-solving skills, emotional development, and creative abilities. It also helps kids develop a relationship with their environment, she said.
N.B. council previously approved the natural play space proposal in principle, but have not reviewed any funding details yet.
BECIP originally wanted to create the project for Central Park but since the city has already done some upgrades there, it is planning the project for Centennial Park instead.
Councillor Don Buglas said he was impressed with the proposal.
The project will provide "something for our kids in the community, which is greatly needed," he said.
Following the meeting Mayor Ryan Bater said the city will see if it has the means to fund the project, adding that the city does invest in infrastructure within city parks on an ongoing basis.
"To have an opportunity to match that with an external grant is definitely something we want to consider," he said.
"This will undoubtedly be part of the budget discussions in the coming weeks," the mayor added. "It's nice to see a commitment from that organization. Not just a financial commitment, but a commitment to the wellbeing and betterment of children in our community."
Bater said making an investment in this type of infrastructure is "something that benefits the entire community for decades to come."
Council will consider the funding request during its 2018 budget deliberation meetings.
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