The sound of giggling children could be heard in the background as a Chilliwack park opened Saturday (June 26), thanks to the donation of two pieces of residential property.
Play structures at Philippson Family Park in Promontory were officially open to the public that morning and the land on Sylvan Drive where the new park is located was donated by 82-year-old Rodney Philippson who lived in Promontory for more than two decades.
“I spent 26 years up there (he moved to Promontory in 1994) and I want to leave something behind,” said Philippson in March, who lived across the street from the lot, and has since moved into the Cascades, an assisted-living facility in Chilliwack. “I’m not going to live forever, and I wanted to use my resources to give back to the community.”
Despite Saturday’s hot weather, city staff were there with other dignitaries and guests to officially open the nautical-themed park.
“This was a neighbourhood that was in need (of a park). The planning was perfect, the generosity was incredible, the sun and the moon all lined up and here we are today,” said City of Chilliwack councillor Bud Mercer. “The legacy this park will bring to the city will go on for generations.”
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon and school trustee Barry Neufeld were also in attendance.
The two neighbouring properties (about one-third of an acre in total) were donated to the city three years ago and were worth $750,000 at the time.
The nautical theme is in honour of Philippson’s long career as a West Coast fisherman and features the words “Galiano Queen” on the side of the boat play structure. It was named after Philippson’s boat.
The park has been dedicated to the community, to Philippson’s parents and everyone who has immigrated to Canada “for a better life,” Philippson said.
About half of the space is taken up by the playground while the other half is a green area. Playground zone street signs are scheduled to be installed soon.
– with files from Eric Welsh