THUNDER BAY – Residents will have to wait a few more months to enjoy a new playground at Vickers Park that will bring some of the same accessible play enhancements that have proven popular at Boulevard Lake to the city’s south side.
Werner Schwar, a supervisor in the parks division, said the project slipped from its planned fall 2023 completion due to delayed delivery of playground equipment, which isn’t set to arrive from a distributor until November.
That will be too late in the season to install the park’s poured rubber surface, which must be installed in temperatures over 10 C, said Schwar.
That rubber surface, replacing sandpits that no longer meets accessibility standards, is one of the new features designed to make Vickers the city’s second “accessible play hub.”
“Some of the play pieces that are very popular at Boulevard, such as the newer merry-go-round, the swing that’s sort of like a boat, and some of the musical instruments, they’re all replicated at Vickers,” said Schwar.
“The way it’s designed is just to allow kids of all abilities to play together. That seems to be really popular at Boulevard, the fact that there’s lots of interaction.”
He added the Vickers design is also meant to honour the more-than-century-old park’s heritage and trees.
The Vickers playground won’t achieve quite the same scale as the one at Boulevard, which got a boost from a $750,000 sponsorship.
The work to replace the current playground, much of which dates to the 1980s, is now expected to launch after the May long weekend when half-load restrictions are lifted. It should be completed sometime in June, Schwar said, with current equipment remaining in place until then.
Along with new and expanded play structures, the revamp includes adding benches and shaded gathering areas, adult fitness equipment, and walkway improvements.
Council awarded a roughly $1-million contract for the project to Manitoba-based Playgrounds-R-Us, the same company that built the Boulevard Lake playground, in June.