Nova Scotians have enhanced playgrounds and community spaces with a provincial program that supports improvements to public facilities.
The Community Jobs and Facilities Improvement program provides $2 million annually for non-profit groups that are seeking to make improvements to community halls, outdoor playgrounds and parks, and other public spaces that serve their communities.
Projects supported by the program include a new playground for the Port Hawkesbury Community Park, a project spearheaded by a local community group with support from the province, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, and the Let Them Be Kids initiative.
“This is an example of what Nova Scotia communities do best by bringing people and groups together to improve the quality of life enjoyed by everyone,” said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leonard Preyra. “The province is working with communities and individuals across the province to enhance key facilities like the Port Hawkesbury Community Park and make life better for Nova Scotia families.
“The new playground will give families and their children a place to enjoy some fresh air and exercise and encourage a love of physical activity from an early age.”
The province is contributing $50,000 to the project, with the town providing additional support.
“The Town of Port Hawkesbury recognizes the great need to provide children with safe and fun play spaces that encourage them to explore their outdoor environment while developing motor and social skills,” said Port Hawkesbury Mayor Billy Joe MacLean. “This new playground will be a wonderful addition to the town’s outdoor infrastructure, and we are pleased to partner with the volunteer committee to see this project develop.”
The park is part of a national effort to build playgrounds, skate parks, and fitness parks by Let Them Be Kids, a non-profit volunteer-led group that has supported over 160 projects since 2008.
The Port Hawkesbury Community Park Society has worked to create awareness and raise funds in the local community to build a playground using the theme “We dream. We build. We play.” The society received a Helping Hands Award from Let Them Be Kids who will match dollar for dollar the funds raised for the project. The result will be a 2900-square-foot playground that will encourage young people to live active and healthy lives.
“We are creating a park that has outdoor play and recreation features that are accessible, inclusive, safe, secure, natural, and fun,” said Patrick Lamey, chair of the Port Hawkesbury Community Park Society. “With the support from the province and the municipality and the generosity of community members, businesses and service organizations, we’re able to provide a place for children and their families to pursue healthy living through outdoor activities.”
The Community Jobs and Facilities Improvement program will fund up to 75 percent of actual project costs, to a maximum of $50,000, for non-profit groups to improve existing facilities and public spaces. In 2012-13, the program supported over 170 projects throughout Nova Scotia.
Information about the program and applications are available at www.gov.ns.ca/cch/investing/community-funding/cjfip/. More information about Let Them Be Kids can be found at www.ltbk.ca.