'A lot of people who believe in the project': New playground set to break ground

·3 min read

A new playground is coming to Grand Manan in April, says Mayor Dennis Greene.

Located at the parking lot by Seal Cove Beach, the $60,000 playground will be the result of almost a year of planning and fundraising, according to Chris Rayner, the village's recreation director.

"Anytime you can keep a kid busy, the better they are."

The fundraising effort was helped by the Seal Cove Playground Working Group, made up of six parents and community members from Seal Cove. They raised approximately $25,000 since their fundraising campaign began in August, said member Susan Ballantyne.

Other members of the group include Alisha Pond, Sara Ingalls, Emily Clinch, Susan Benson and Tammy Brown, Ballantyne said.

She said the work couldn't have been done without the help of island residents who contributed a variety of items to be sold at three different raffles.

"Island people are very generous," said Ballantyne, who added raffle items ranged from socks to dinners to beauty products.

She said they'll continue to raise funds for the last $5,000 to cover the remaining payments.

"They've certainly put a lot of effort into their fundraising and that's the reason why they got the success that they've had," said Grand Manan Deputy Mayor Wayne Sturgeon.

"There's a lot of people who believe in the project."

The playground will have multiple structures, including a climbing igloo, a mock skeleton of a whale, a structure with two slides and two set of swings, one for young kids and the other for toddlers, Rayner said.

The Village of Grand Manan is contributing $10,000 toward the project, while local MLA Andrea Anderson-Mason helped the community project get $23,000 in regional development funding. The rest was raised by the community group.

Greene said he was initially concerned about the proposed location of the playground because of the potential for salt water spray corroding the equipment.

However, he said he has been reassured by the group that the equipment will not rust. Ballentyne said they will put up boulders around the site, just off the beach and leave the sea grass around it as protection.

Greene had initially proposed the group could put it by the ballpark because it was already fenced in, but he said the chosen site will be closer to the beach.

Almost a century ago, Seal Cove used to be home to a playground, but it hasn't been there for several years. There was also a wooden playground near the island's ball field that had to be removed several years ago because it didn't meet standards.

This isn't the only playground on Grand Manan, said Rayner. There's also a playground in North Head, a toddler playground in Castalia and one in Victoria Park.

Grand Manan council is also looking at plans to bring a new skate park to the island.

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada.

Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal