It was a beautiful day in the neighbourhood and a nice day for a park opening.
City officials, representatives from FortisBC and - most importantly - kids tried out Prince George's newest and most-inclusive playground at Duchess park Tuesday morning.
The playground was the brainchild of the city's advisory committee on accessibility, which for years has championed the building of a fully accessible play area for Prince George youth.
"In 2010, council approved the Prince George Accessible Advisory committee to explore the feasibility of developing an accessible playground that would include the components that are tailored to children that have physical, cognitive and sensory impairments," said Mayor Shari Green.
As it stands today, the park - which began construction at the beginning of August - features play structures with ramps to allow for wheelchairs and those with lower mobility access as well as musical features, a harness swing and turf instead of gravel or wood chips.
"We've got some great features here and we wouldn't have been able to do any of that without some financial contributions from some strong community supporters," Green said.
She thanked contributors Scotiabank, Northern Health Children First, Tire Stewardship of BC and accepted a cheque from Fortis BC for $25,000 for the project.
The city partnered with School District 57 and the province three years ago to transfer the lands behind the secondary school for a community park. Other recently completed components of the park include a fenced dog park and a mini bike skills park.
"It's a beautiful day and I'm happy to see kids are certainly enjoying themselves on the playground which is what it's all about," Green said.
Natasha Darling brought her 21-month-old son Parker to try out the park. The family moved to Prince George recently from Calgary. Darling said she was impressed with the play area.
"There's so much. I don't think he'll get bored easily," Darling said. "He can really grow with this park."
The mom was also impressed with the inclusive aspects and said it was important for kids to grow up understanding that anyone can do anything and that everyone wants to - and can - play.
Also on hand to promote the message of inclusivity was Nancy Harris, the northern B.C. co-ordinator of Let's Play - a program intended to help kids with mobility limitations become physically active. Harris brought a trailer full of sport wheelchairs so park visitors to take a spin through the park from a different perspective.
"We all know a senior, most of us know someone with a baby carriage or a toddler, we're all getting older and most of us do know somebody with a disability right now," Harris said. "Inclusive affects everybody."