This is the story young families in the area have been waiting for! The new playground at the Duck Pond (Riverside Park) will be available for use by the end of August, according to the Lake Cowichan Kinsmen, stewards of the park since the 1960s.
The playground replacement has been years in the making, said project coordinator Steve White, of the Kinsmen.
Over the last couple of years, the Kinsmen/Kinettes have fundraised $106,000, through their annual fishing derby and duck pond races.
“We also obtained a generous grant of $29,578 from Tire Stewardship BC and the Town of Lake Cowichan has committed to preparing the park for the new layout that is designed for accessibility,” White said.
But playgrounds are costly and they needed to gather more funds. That money has recently come through in a number of ways.
Recently, the Forestry Co-op generously donated $50,000 toward the Duck Pond revitalization project.
“It is the pleasure of the board of the Cowichan Lake Community Forest Co-op to be able to help the Kinsmen Club of Lake Cowichan with their legacy project for the Duck Pond,” said CLCFC president Lorne Scheffer. “The funds provided by the CLCFC for this and other projects are the direct results of our partnership in the Qalayit Community Forest License Agreement.”
The first ever Kristal Mayo Memorial Cancer Walk on March 20 raised five figures for the project.
“I’m proud to say that the walk that we held in Kristal’s honor raised $14,000 for the Duck Pond revitalization project. The Duck Pond is important to us as we both played there as children and want our five-year-old daughter Kourtlynn to have a nice park to play at as well. The walk was a terrific event and turned out just as Kristal had hoped it would, with approximately 500 people in attendance; Kristal would be very proud,” said her husband Dustin Mayo.
A popular play place and swimming hole near the centre of town, the park provides everything a young family needs, from washrooms and picnic tables to benches and access to the Cowichan River, and of course, a playground.
A long-time resident and Duck Pond revitalization committee member, Rod Peters remembers when his children played at the park.
“We moved to Lake Cowichan in 1980 and lived at 258 River Rd. on Lamb’s Hill. My three children just walked down the hill to the Duck Pond all the time,” Peters said. “I joined Lake Cowichan Kinsmen and ran the swimming program at the Duck Pond for several years. The park is perfect for small children and families. I think it’s a necessity for our community.”
Tear down of the old playground will begin in June and the new playground will be up by the end of August, with an opening celebration planned for September, White said.
The new playground has accessibility in mind for an all-inclusive playground and park design with even more features planned for the future.
“Community playgrounds provide children the opportunity to practice and hone key skills including social, emotional, cognitive and physical,” White said. “We are asking businesses and individuals to get involved by becoming a partner, alongside Kinsmen/Kinette Clubs, and invest in this important community park.”
The Kinsmen will be selling 14 sponsorship/memorial benches placed in locations around the playground for $2,000 each. A plaque with the family or corporate name will be added to the bench. If you are interested in purchasing a bench contact Rod Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 250-710-2180.
Businesses and individuals who would like to get involved by becoming a partner, alongside the Kinsmen/Kinette Clubs are encouraged to discuss the opportunity with Steve White (250-510-4355 or email@example.com)