Region of Queens Municipality is entering into a partnership agreement with Autism Nova Scotia for a future inclusive playground to be built on Municipal lands in Liverpool.
The playground, unique in Southwestern Nova Scotia and the province, will feature inclusive play equipment and structures that supports use by all children and adults.
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Autism Nova Scotia, and are proud that Queens County will be home to this wonderful asset which will give families of all abilities many fun experiences that they may not have had in the past,” said David Dagley, Mayor of Region of Queens Municipality.
“Not only is the inclusive playground a benefit to local families, it is something that families from all around Nova Scotia will come to visit and enjoy.”
The proposed agreement resulted from discussions around a motion of Council approved on February 27, 2018, and rescinded on April 9, 2019, in which Region of Queens Council agreed to donate the land and a maximum of $25,000, and enter a renewable partnership agreement for a period of five years with Autism Nova Scotia to manage construction and ongoing maintenance of the playground.
Under the provisions of the proposed partnership agreement, Autism Nova Scotia will prepare the design of the playground, and determine the suppliers of the equipment, as well as work with the local Queens County fundraising committee to raise the funds needed.
Once funds have been raised, and the plans and equipment have also been approved by both partners, the Municipality will manage the project through to completion, own, and maintain the playground as an additional infrastructure asset of the Municipality.
“We deeply appreciate the partnership of the Region of Queens, as well as the tremendous vision and dedication of the many volunteers and supporters who have come together to create this inclusive outdoor recreation space for people of all ages and all abilities,” said Debbie Wamboldt, chairperson of Queens Universally Designed Playground’s fundraising committee and board member of Autism Nova Scotia’s South Shore Chapter.
The projected cost of the inclusive playground is approximately $450,000, with the local fundraising committee working toward reaching that goal through community and corporate fundraising efforts. The playground project will not proceed until sufficient fundraising is in place.
One of the conditions of the proposed agreement allows Autism Nova Scotia up to two years to source the required funds. In the event that the funds are not raised in two years, the partnership agreement would terminate.
Under the proposed agreement, the local fundraising committee will be eligible to apply for Region of Queens’ new Community Investment Fund grant program, and therefore the previously committed $25,000 is not included in the 2019-20 budget, and not in the proposed agreement.