By Matthew Liebenberg
A high-quality play surface will be an important component of the inclusive playground under development in Swift Current.
Council members approved the contract for the supply and installation of a rubber surface during a regular council meeting, Dec. 12.
The work will be done by Prairie Rubber Paving of Imperial, Saskatchewan, at a cost of $234,623.36 (PST included, GST excluded).
The City has received federal grant funding from the Canada Community Revitalization Fund for this project, which will include a fully inclusive playground, accessible washrooms, parking lot and paved pathways.
City General Manager of Community Services Jim Jones said a poured-in-place rubber surface is required to meet the standards of an inclusive playground.
“This type of surface provides wheelchair accessibility and protection for those with physical disabilities with a jointless plane, while also providing shock absorbency, which is fall attenuation, improved impact safety and durability,” he explained. “In contrast, pea gravel and engineered wood fibres can be easily moved, which negatively affects the fall attenuation, limits accessibility, and become debris around the exterior of the playground.”
This rubber-based play surface will provide full access to the playground for children with various levels of mobility, and it will comply with the Canadian Standards Association and American Society for Testing and Materials standards for play surfaces.
He noted the rubber surface in the inclusive playground will be similar to existing play surfaces in two other City parks, ACT Park and Riverside Park, but even more user-friendly.
“It’s just easier to push a wheelchair or any type of apparatus pushing a child in as well, and it’s also supposedly easier on the person pushing, on their knees and otherwise too,” he said.
This is a different contractor than the one previously used by the City, but it is experienced and with good references.
“The company from Imperial has done all of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart inclusive playgrounds that they’ve done in western Canada,” he said. “So they’re a very good contractor, and the City of Prince Albert uses them exclusively for the placing of their pour and play surfaces as well. And in all the references they provided, everyone said they do a very good job.”
The City of Swift Current received only this single tender submission for the installation of the play surface. The City was unable to include a specific date for this project work, which might have discouraged other contractors from tendering.
“Part of the problem we had was that as people were putting their summers together on what their work is, we couldn’t zero it right down to exactly when we’re going to put it there, because it’s based on some other construction being done,” Jones said.
The new inclusive playground will be located on the site of the former Palliser Care Centre on Central Avenue South. The City successfully negotiated an arrangement with the provincial government to use the site for this purpose.
The groundworks started in the fall and the bathrooms are currently under construction. The play structure is scheduled to arrive soon.
“What we’ve done is all the surfacing, levelling and stuff has been completed,” he said. “We‘ve put the water lines in and the electrical lines in to where the bathrooms are going. The contractor for the bathrooms, they have to have it done by March 31. And now we actually have the contract out for the pour and play surface. … If we have an early spring, then maybe we’ll be able to get in there early and get that done.”
Council approves bylaw to adjust electric usage rates:
Council members approved a bylaw to allow for an adjustment to the electric usage rates effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Councillor Ryan Plewis spoke about the reason for this bylaw. The rate adjustment is necessary due to an increase in the federal carbon tax on SaskPower’s carbon emissions.
SaskPower indicated the carbon tax rate rider on electricity bills will on average increase by three per cent. City Light and Power purchases electrical power in bulk from SaskPower and it will therefore implement the change to the rate rider to maintain equity between electrical rates in Swift Current and elsewhere in the province.
“Our Light and Power residential customers will see that average three per cent increase, which we’re guessing is about $1.34 for an apartment, $2.57 for an average home and $3.70 for a larger residence,” he said. “All commercial customers would also see that same three per cent coming through to their billings as well.”