A new playground, refurbished gym floor, and splash pad are being introduced to help get Fort Simpson residents moving.
Village recreation director Andre Bolduc said Fort Simpson’s recreation centre was “getting pretty old,” at around 30 to 35 years of age, and renovations were becoming a priority as territorial and federal funding comes in.
“There’s no plan to build a new one, so instead we’ve received a large pool of money to make all these upgrades,” he said.
“It’s one of our most important assets in the community and we really want it to be the best it can be.”
Marie Forman – executive director of the Open Doors Society, a family resource centre in the village – said the upgraded facilities will be “very well-used.”
Forman’s organization will use the newly renovated gym to host after-school sessions for youth and “parents and tots time” that helps motor skills in children aged up to six.
Forman said a new floor with repainted lines helps as her group’s activities need boundary lines so kids understand the space around them.
“The kids deserve it and the adults deserve it,” she said of the overall improvements.
“There’s not a lot for kids to do. Our playground was really lacking and this new playground is exceptional, and the addition of the splash pad is going to be super-used in the summer months.”
The gym is set to reopen in the next week. The new playground is open with one component yet to be installed.
More playground enhancements, the possible creation of a basketball court, and insulation of the community’s pool are projects still to come.
Steve Meek, wellness coordinator for the Líídlįį Kúę First Nation, said the First Nation will maintain a range of youth programs this fall and winter.
The community’s Lights On program will likely begin in mid-November. Every Friday and Saturday evening from 8pm to midnight, youth from grades seven to 12 are given a safe space to see friends and participate in activities.
Snowboarding lessons will return this winter after many kids took up the opportunity last year and enjoyed it, Meek said.
A federal grant has allowed the First Nation to expand that program. It hopes to offer four to five snowboarding clinics this winter.
“We hope to give everyone an opportunity to learn how to snowboard and hope to be open most weekends, handing out equipment and just offering some advice and trying to get as many people as possible up the hill,” Meek said.
“Giving the youth the opportunity to learn this fantastic sport is something they can take across the whole globe.”