Parks brought up to standard

In compliance with the latest “Children’s Playspaces and Equipment Standard” by the Canadian Standards Association, the Town of Fort Frances has taken measures to ensure that our parks meet the mark.
The CSA releases a new standard every five years, and it is the responsibility of individual municipalities to follow suit in accordance with their research.
This release is the third edition of the standard, and aims to minimize safety hazards as much as possible, explained CSA media relations agent Anthony Toderian.
“Scraped knees are going to happen, bumps and bruises are going to happen,” said Toderian. “But the goal of the standard is to help prevent more serious injuries such as head fractures and strangulation.”
Certified playground inspector Paul LaFreniere has completed audits of seven of the eight local parks that have playground equipment, which resulted in one park losing all of its outdated equipment.
Phair Avenue Park was home to very old equipment, every piece of which failed the audit. All of the playground equipment has since been removed, and with a very limited budget for playground equipment, it will not be replaced until next year.
“The playground equipment [at Phair Avenue Park] didn’t meet the new code and it all had to be pulled out,” said Airport and Park Superintendant Bill Caul.
Doug Brown, manager of Operations and Facilities, asked that the public be patient, saying that though it may be inconvenient for the time being, in the long run it is a step in the right direction.
“[The CSA] has the standards set up. If you don’t maintain equipment to that standard, you’re liable,” explained Brown. “It’s better to put in proper equipment and maintain it properly than leave something that isn’t up to standard where injuries or liabilities could occur.”
Only Lions Park (at the corner of Second Street and Reid Avenue) passed the audit with only minor corrections, and was able to keep its original equipment.
The rest of the parks were not so fortunate.
Legion Park (across from Alexander McKenzie School) has newer playground equipment, but still required 18 minor corrections and the removal of the toddler swing set, the youth swing set, the set of swing horses and two of the four teeter totters.
A new swing set with two toddler swings and two youth swings was installed, at a cost of $2,098.45 for the material and equipment.
The work on the equipment at McIrvine Park (at the corner of Colonization Road West and Daniel Avenue) was relatively minor, but three trees have to be removed and relocated, and a new “fall protection zone” needs to be installed, at an approximate cost of $3,000.
St. Francis Park (on McIrvine Road) did relatively well on the audit, but the sliding pole was deemed 18 inches too short, and so a new one has been ordered for $700.
Lillie Avenue Park (in the North end of town) is also an older park and therefore in need of a rather significant makeover. The climbing bars, monkey bars, spring horses and slide all need to be replaced, and a new “fall protection zone” must also be added.
With some changes, the swing set will be salvageable, leaving the park with one swing set with two toddler swings and two youth swings. The cost will be about $3,000.
The spring horses and both slides did not pass the audit at Front Street Park (between Butler and Mosher Avenues) but the teeter totter and swing set can be saved with alterations. The cost for this park will be $2,500.
The audit on the equipment at Pither’s Point Park has yet to be completed.
If any service groups are willing to donate equipment for the parks, they are asked to please contact the Town of Fort Frances.