(Education Minister Rob Fleming zipping by at the new Sidney Elementary School playground/Photo by Donnie Peterson - Facebook)

Sidney Elementary School students now have access to a new and upgraded playground due to a provincially funded program.

The $105,0000 investment to build the new playground was funded through the Playground Equipment Program first launched in 2018.

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“As a parent, I understand how important playgrounds are to a child’s physical and social development and how access to safe and modern playground equipment can improve a child’s focus in school,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education.

“In the past, parents spent years to fundraise tens of thousands of dollars for much-needed playground equipment. I’m proud to be part of a government that is making life easier for families and children through our investments in the Playground Equipment Program.”

This year, the province pledged $5 million to the program, part of which is used to fund new playgrounds for four Greater Victoria Schools – Sidney, Braefoot, Eagle View, and Savoury elementary schools.

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Since its launch in 2018, the fund has received $10 million to provide 101 new playgrounds across BC.

“This new playground and outdoor learning space will provide a safe and accessible addition to Sidney Elementary school, its growing student population and the community as a whole,” said Victoria Martin, chair of the Saanich School Board.

“Play spaces are critical necessities to the healthy development of our children in their formative years. These spaces will be here for years to come, providing many children with these wonderful learning opportunities.”

To receive a new playground, school districts must apply for the funding by sending a list of priorities in their capital plan submissions in June each year.

Playgrounds are funded based on greatest need.