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NEWS RELEASE

Grand Opening of Westmount Inclusive Playground Park

(Tuesday, June 27, 2006) - The Westmount Inclusive Playground Park (WIPP) will officially open to children of all ages and abilities on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 at 6:00 pm. WIPP is the first accessible playground equipped with an outdoor mobility challenge course in Canada.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at the WIPP, which is located at Westmount School in Halifax. Funding partners, supporters, suppliers, sponsors and the community will be in attendance.

“This playground is unique to HRM and will enable children of all ages and abilities to play together, learn from each other, and share in active, healthy living,” said Mayor Peter Kelly. “The sponsors and community organizations are to be commended for their generous support in making the realization of this accessible playground possible.”

Total project costs is $377,000 and funding from sources other than HRM included $70,000 from Ronald McDonald House; $67,500 from Nova Scotia Health Promotion & Protection (Sport Nova Scotia); $12,000 from Saturn of Halifax; $10,000 from TD Canada Trust; $1,000 from the Halifax International Airport Authority, and $500 from the Westmount Neighbourhood Fund.

HRM received great support for the playground by the Westmount Inclusive Playground Park Advisory Committee, the surrounding neighbourhood and the Westmount School - parents, staff, educators and children. Community involvement was paramount in insuring this special project was successful.

At the event, a short presentation will be made by Eileen Cody, Principal of Westmount School, along with Mayor Kelly and Councillor Fougere.

The playground features rubberized surfaces, a wheelchair challenge course and is accessible to children and people of all ages and abilities. The enclosed playground also provides a safe and fun venue for the visually impaired. Safe play for visually impaired children is enhanced by tactile markers and audible cues to define exactly where they are on the playground.

The facility includes a multi-deck component with wheelchair ramps, accessible swings and ground-level panels, bells and drums, and brightly painted pavement markings. The playground has been designed around an airport theme - a tribute to the first municipal airport, which was located on the Westmount site 75 years ago. Once complete, the play structures will also include a simulated control tower, runway and emergency fire trucks.

A mobility challenge course, a special feature at the site, is designed to improve the skills of wheelchair users. The course includes 18 to 20 different surfaces and challenges for wheelchair users of any age. The components simulate real-life obstacles like asphalt and gravel surfaces, concrete curbs, inward- and outward-opening doors and small hills.

For more information on the playground, and pictures of its phases in construction, visit the Westmount School website at http://www.westmount.ednet.ns.ca/

Grand Opening, Westmount Inclusive Playground Park

When: Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Time: Reception begins at 5:15 pm, inside the school gymnasium
Official ribbon cutting ceremony begins at 6:00 pm, at the WIPP

Where: 6700 Edward Arab Avenue, Halifax (Westmount School)

(In the event of rain, the ceremony will take place in the Westmount School gymnasium)

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For more information, please contact:

Mayor Peter Kelly
490-4010

Councillor Sheila Fougere
452-3209

Kim Borgal
HRM Corporate Communications
490-1539