Swift Current is taking a massive stride towards inclusivity with the introduction of an inclusive playground to the city. 

The new park will become a reality, partially thanks to a $750,000 investment from the Government of Canada. 

The investment is coming through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund (CCRF), which focuses on investing in community initiatives that revitalize downtown cores and main streets, reinvent outdoor spaces, create green infrastructure and increase accessibility.  

The CCRF is a two-year, $500 million national infrastructure program meant to support communities across the country in building and improving community infrastructure. 

Parks Manager for the City of Swift Current, Michael Newell, says that the park will be a fantastic resource for individuals at all levels of play. 

“Inclusive playgrounds have been, you know, it's a newer idea in terms of like probably the last 20 years,” he explained. “A lot of push has been on accessible playgrounds. That's meeting a minimum standard, whereas an inclusive playground really looks at the overall design and how you can engage children with different ability levels to be able to play together at the same time in the same park. 

Newell added that during the Parks and Recreation Culture Master Plan, the City identified the desire from residents for an inclusive park in the community. 

During Monday night's council meeting, the City signed an agreement with the province of Saskatchewan to use the old Palliser site on the south side of Swift Current at Gladstone and Central.  

Also approved on Monday night was the RFP for the playground supply and installation with the company, Playgrounds-R-Us. 

Nicole Spenst, with the City of Swift Current, elaborated on the order of events that took place while bringing the playground to fruition. 

“So, we want the opportunity for the community to get to work directly with the contractor that we hired,” she said. “So, this way allowing, going in this order allowed us the opportunity to pick a company that had great warranty, that had design aspect, and experience developing inclusive playgrounds. 

“And then now it allows us to work one on one with that company that we feel scored the highest of all the proposals directly with the Community and make sure that all of the elements that are in the design meet the needs of the community.” 

The first phase of the park will feature a playground structure with multiple entrances and egress points for individuals with mobility challenges.  

A We-Go-Swing will be installed to allow individuals to swing without having to transfer out of their wheelchairs.  

The park will also include areas for shelter and shade, space for family picnics, accessible paths, playground surfaces, parking lots, and washrooms. 

Aspects of the other two phases will include a concrete curb around the playground structure, a rubber surface, a fence around the outside, asphalt pathways, and an accessible parking lot.  

The additional two phases of the project will continue based upon budget approval and additional funding partnerships and support. 

Newell added that while a major step has been taken with the agreement being approved, the building of the structure may still take some time due to supply and demand issues.