An artist’s rendering of the proposed playground accessibility ramp to be constructed this summer at Evergreen Independent School. (Submitted by Evergreen Independent School)

An artist’s rendering of the proposed playground accessibility ramp to be constructed this summer at Evergreen Independent School. (Submitted by Evergreen Independent School)

Sarah Simpson column: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Evergreen Independent School in Cobble Hill wanted a ramp to make the school more accessible

Sometimes you have to think outside the box to get things done the way you want them.

The folks at Evergreen Independent School in Cobble Hill wanted a ramp to make the school more accessible to all and they were able to secure an accessibility grant from the federal government to do just that.

But any ol’ ramp — while extremely useful to a great many people — is kind of boring so a group of staff, students, parents, and volunteers at the school figured that if they were going to build a ramp, it would be both practical AND playful.

Colleen O’ Dell, Evergreen’s board chair, explained the idea is to build play elements into the ramp to make it more fun.

“We are providing a ramp that is inclusive and celebrates the students that have to use that ramp and it provides accessibility in a fun playful way,” O’Dell said. “The grant covers the costs of the ramp build and the play elements of the playground will need to be fundraised by the school community.”

While technically offering two ground-level entries into the school’s main building, the new feature will be anything but a small or boring ramp.

It’s more like an elevated boardwalk that will actually wind around the school’s existing playground in an open triangle-type of shape and feature a ship’s bow in one corner. It will use an existing tree to create a tree fort type of space in another corner and it will connect to the existing play structure with a rope suspension bridge, according to an artist’s rendering. A closer look shows even a potential slide coming from one of the longer boardwalk paths.

No doubt the Evergreen Independent School children, roughly 90 students from preschool through Grade 8, will enjoy the addition to their grounds. What’s more, the neighbourhood will also be welcome to use the structure.

Construction on their latest project is set to begin this summer.

To donate to the Evergreen ramp playground project, visit the school’s Canada Helps account and earmark your donation for that project, and/or plan to go to the Evergreen fundraising fun fair in May that all community members are invited to attend.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having internet troubles for quite a while and like the folks at Evergreen school, sometimes I need to come up with unique ways to get things done. I wanted my internet fixed, and sooner rather than later! In fact, the other day I was so frustrated, I tweeted to my provider’s Twitter support account. I’m not proud of publicly whining at big companies but it has served me well the handful of times I’ve done it over the years.

The guy working social media for them that day was actually pretty fantastic and bumped me to the front of the line for online support.

I was quickly patched through to a staffer from Winnipeg named Love.

I tried to do one of the live troubleshooting chats with Love and I was feeling really hopeless, but just as I started to feel like we were really getting somewhere, we got cut off.

Noooooo!

A moment later, I was reconnected with Vincent from Brampton.

In my frustration, I said to Vincent, “What the heck happened to Love in Winnipeg?”

Without skipping a beat, Vincent replied: “Love is alive and well in Winnipeg and in every other province too!”

Something tells me he wasn’t talking about the customer service representative!

He may well be talking about the folks at Evergreen Independent School who believe that inclusivity doesn’t have to mean boring — it can mean both practical and playful and can benefit the school and the community, too.

I wonder if anyone from the school could come over and have a look at my internet…



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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