Alex Hope parents scramble for funds as school is without playground

Alex Hope Elementary PAC president Karen Moore and her sons, Tanner, 12, Michael, 9, and Ryan, 7, stand where their playground once was.  - Monique Tamminga/Langley Times
Alex Hope Elementary PAC president Karen Moore and her sons, Tanner, 12, Michael, 9, and Ryan, 7, stand where their playground once was.
— image credit: Monique Tamminga/Langley Times

Parents and students at Alex Hope Elementary school are hoping Santa will come through with one big Christmas gift for their school.

If the jolly St. Nick doesn’t come through with a $100,000 new playground, the Parents Advisory Committee is going to have to hold a lot more craft fairs, movie nights, kids’ markets and poker nights to come up with the cash.

Primary students have been without a playground since the start of the school year, after Township inspectors condemned the equipment in September. A blue fence stood around the playground until it was taken away last week.

“It surprises people that the onus is on the parents to come up with the money if they want to replace a playground,” said PAC president Karen Moore. “Everyone thinks that the school district would make sure playgrounds are at every school, but it just isn’t the case.”

The provincial government handed out funds this year to replace aging playgrounds throughout B.C. In Langley, Simonds Elementary was given $80,000 to replace their equipment.

The PAC at Alex Hope was totally taken off guard that the Township would condemn the playground, leaving students in the younger grades with no play structures, save some swings and a small climbing wall.

“They have adapted. I will give them that. They play hide and go seek and tag now,” she said. But with 90 full-time Kindergarten students having nothing to play on for recess, it isn’t a good situation.

“It’s a full school too, with 540 kids,” she said.

Moore wants to see a new playground put in before the end of the school year.

It all started when the PAC asked maintenance to fix a lifted board on the swing bridge portion of the playground. That inspection led to the 20-year-old structure deemed unsafe for kids to play on. What complicates the matter is the structure is actually on Township land, inside the grounds of “Alex Hope Park.” Langley Township has offered $5,000 towards it but hasn’t wanted to come to the table with more, Moore said.

PAC has held a movie night, sold Entertainment books, held fairs, raised money through hockey tickets and are planning  a poker night for Jan. 26.

SuperSave donated $10,000 and Great Canadian Dollar store donated $1,300. But they continue to look for other sponsors and if you would like to take part in the poker tournament, call the school.

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