by Andru McCracken

All Kirby Scheller wants is an amazing outdoor climbing wall, or a zipline, surely $90,000 can achieve that. / SUBMITTED

When hearing that $90,000 was available for a new playground, Valemount Elementary School student Kirby Scheller’s first response was, “Wow.”

“I would like it to get spent for a playground with a zipline and good rock wall,” said Scheller.

The local Parent Advisory Committee recently purchased a new climbing wall targeted at older kids, but Scheller said it’s no good.

“That one is more for little kids than big kids,” he said.

Scheller said they typically play basketball or soccer in the summertime, but during the winter there are fewer options.

“We really have nothing to do; we’re not allowed to sign out basketballs or soccer balls,” he said. “A good playground would be really good.”

The Ministry of Education has announced $180,000 for two schools in School District 57, one of them being Valemount Elementary.

“This money will be split equally for new playgrounds at Valemount Elementary and Van Bien Elementary,” said Board Chair Tim Bennett.

Bennett said the playground would be ready for the next school year and that money that the Parent Advisory Council has been fundraising can be directed elsewhere.

Local School District Representative Bob Thompson said the money is appreciated.

“The Valemount Elementary Playground has needed an upgrade for a long time now and whatever the new configuration will be, it will be much better and safer, and I’m sure the students will love it,” he said.

Vice Chair of the Parent Advisory Council Janine Jensen said she isn’t sure what the plan is.

“We heard the news in the media,” said Jensen.

Jensen said that the climbing wall installed last year cost $25,000.

“I would be interested to know what the district’s plan would be with $90,000,” she said. “I am hoping it would go far, but we haven’t been told of any plans at this time.”