Council voted on some changes affecting playground equipment and tree management Tuesday, as both City of Chilliwack policies needed some housekeeping adjustments, according to the staff report.
One of the policy changes was removing the commitment to install play equipment “at a minimum of two parks per year,” which was taken out because the upgrading program, in effect since the early 2000s, was reaching its completion.
Both the playground equipment and tree management policy changes were eventually approved by council, but not before Coun. Lum asked for the rationale on the equipment issue.
“I’m looking for clarification on the two playgrounds a year, we’re changing the policy, can you give me the substantiation on that?” Lum asked.
Operations department director Glen Macpherson explained that city crews spent years upgrading and replacing playground equipment, in order to bring it up to CSA-approved safety standards.
“So we’re at the end of that replacement program,” MacPherson said, adding that the policy shift signified they were “changing gears.”
“We very quickly will reach the state where every park has a playground,” the Operations director said.
So instead of carrying on with upgrades at a rate of “a minimum of two parks per year” the requirements were changed, to
“replace, repair or remove” equipment based on the “the limits of available finances budget and human resources.”
They will keep “at least” one certified playground inspector on staff.
“So there was not at all a reduction in the amount of playgrounds,” Lum clarified, “and if anything we brought them on in excess over what we planned?”
MacPherson agreed that was correct.
With regard to the tree management policy, Coun. Lum asked for and obtained clarification that the policy only affected city-owned trees on city-owned property, and again Director MacPherson agreed that was the case, and the policy did not apply to private or development property.