Mega-playground more about being 'Big' than 'Kids' | Unpublished

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Unpublished Opinions

Anne Maurais's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
About the author

University graduate from Ottawa U who has travelled, to this date, 27% of the world.  I have volunteered in Ecuador and Peru.  Currently volunteering with Crystal Heart, Experimental Farm, and Ottawa Duck Club, and in the past several other organizations.  I'm not tech savvy even though I started as a webmaster in 1996.

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Mega-playground more about being 'Big' than 'Kids'

June 9, 2016

To:  Rennata Lopez - Giver 150

Rennata, Sinking Ship and Giver 150 have missed a golden opportunity to truly help the kids of Ottawa and to create better TV at the same time. 

I was reading the background that you had written for the mega-project to be built at Mooneys’ Bay:

Let’s speak frankly; your goal to build the biggest playground in North America comes before neighbourhood kids.

I have cut and paste some of the text you wrote which for me highlights how much “largest” was the goal.

“Over three seasons Giver kids have built thirty-three unique playgrounds across Ontario. For it’s [sic] fourth season, Giver is embarking on its most ambitious project yet: to build a world record-breaking playground to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

In partnership with the Department of Heritage, Parks Canada, The Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, The City of Ottawa, Volunteer Canada, The Guinness Book of World Records, Ottawa 2017, Ottawa Tourism, and the Department of Tourism for each and every province and territory across Canada, Giver kids will design and create a fifty thousand square foot playground in the heart of their nation's capital, Ottawa.

Easily the largest outdoor playground ever constructed in North America, it will also break the Guinness Book of World Records for world’s longest set of continuous monkey bars.”

If you truly wanted to help the neighbourhood in which kids live, you would have divided your mega playground into several neighbourhood playgrounds. You could have still  retained your theme as each playground could reflect regions of Canada.  

Ottawa is a very large city, with both rural and urban areas with rural representing 90% of the city.  If you truly wanted to help the kids, you would have built mulitple playgrounds with, for example, the Prairie Provinces in a Ottawa rural location, Quebec in Quebec, perhaps BC in Chinatown etc.  Kids could have had a chance to visit a different neighbourhood.  Urban kids, while working in a rural setting could have visited a farm, ridden a horse, or milked a cow. Rural kids could have visited museums in Ottawa.  All of this would make great TV and we be a boon for Ottawa tourism, highlighting different areas of the city. 

But no, you wanted it be the 'largest' as this will be your sales pitch for your show.

I recommend you read a paper produced by the Federation of Citizens Association of Ottawa: . In it you’ll find that Ottawa communities are desperate for funding as their parks and playgrounds are in disrepair.  It states that the 15 year old city plan for parks is out of date and doesn’t reflect the low income, new immigrant areas of the city. 

Sinking Ship could have worked in these areas if it truly cared for kids. To paraphrase a quote that was highlighted at the May 31st 'consultation': Kids could have walked by (not driven to) and played in their community playground while telling their friends, “I helped build that.”

Anne Maurais