Headed by Lynn Locher, the Indoor Play Space Planning Committee is a sub-group of the Early Childhood Development Planning Table, and is partnered with the North Peace Community Resources Society, Pacific Sports Nothern B.C. and School District 60. t is proposing a play space that would take up 1800 – 2000 square feet in the Pomeroy Sport Centre.
At this point the PSC is the only location they're considering, although City Manager Dianne Hunter suggested they look at the Child Development Centre, the old hospital and the College as other possible areas. The committee says it wants it to be in a municipal building, as a partnership with the city, adding it needs to be easily accessible, in a central location and have parking as well as tie in to other facilities and programs.
Stephen Petrucci, Director of Instruction for School District 60, points out the growing number of children aged 0-6 years in Fort St. John is double the provincial average.
"Research tells us that any young children at this age level benefit greatly from their gross motor development when they have a proper play space to do it in."
He also added the extra challenge the city has in finding these play spaces in the winter months. Carla Marsh, Executive Director for North Peace Community Resources Society, says 156 parents responded to a survey in 10 days, largely in favour of a play space, with especially high numbers for use in the winter.
The next step for the Committee is to develop a comprehensive business plan and present it to council on November 28, 2011. If approved, it will work with the city to sumbit an application to the province for capital funding available for healthy communities before December 28. The potential build date would depend on whether the play space receives that funding.