WHEREAS the Canadian Standards Association has introduced new Childrens Play Spaces and Equipment safety standards;AND WHEREAS the municipalities who are responsible for these playgrounds are facing millions of dollars in upgrades to comply with these standards; AND WHEREAS there is a need for financial assistance to help alleviate the impact that this will have on municipal budgets;AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has actively assisted groups and municipalities throughout the province in the development of existing playgrounds;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to allocate funds to municipalities to assist them with the upgrading requirement to make their existing playgrounds comply with the new CSA standards.
The implementation of the new CSA safety standards will result in safer and more secure play spaces for all of our children.The challenge for municipalities, however, is to determine how they deal with the inadequacies of their existing playgrounds. These playgrounds were built prior to the introduction of the current CSA Standards and almost all have identifiable safety hazards, which need to be dealt with. Most playgrounds built before 1990 have very little usable equipment left once the site has been inspected for material, performance, access and egress, layout and specific equipment requirements. In some cases, once the non-conforming equipment has been removed, revised no-encroachment zones necessitate the reconstruction of the entire site before new equipment can be installed.For example: After removing the hazards identified by the new CSA standards, an average size playground built any more than 8 to 10 years ago, may have very little usable equipment left. Even some new playgrounds, built as recently as two years ago, require alterations to meet the new standards. The new standards require more space between and around equipment and this often means that the existing sites are no longer large enough to accommodate even a modest play structure.Municipalities faced with the cost of playground inspections, alterations, repairs, removal, site reconstruction and equipment replacement, are faced with prohibitive costs. Access to funds that have been earmarked for playground retrofits would help to alleviate the increased financial burden which municipalities will have to deal with as they struggle to meet the new CSA standards.