Kenora City Council has voted to replace the reportedly-dangerous wood chips at Garrow Park with artificial turf, after concerns from parents and families came forward. The cost to replace the wood fibres is estimated to be as high of $75,000.

Last week, Shauna DeGagne made a deputation to city council on behalf of concerned families, saying that the new engineered wood fibres used as a ground cover in the playground are dangerous to youth – causing splinters and infections.

Council says that the wood fibres will remain in place for the time being, until the contract to replace the ground cover has been awarded and the project is moving forward.

The city says that they are unsure if the project can be completed this year, based on the requirements of the City procurement policy. The city will also be looking into posting signage to warn the public of the concerns with the wood fibres.

A report from the city’s Parks and Facilities Division says that the wood fibre is specifically engineered for playgrounds, and is free from any hazardous elements. The fibres cost $2.15 per square foot, for a total of just over $5,000.

“It caught us in an awkward situation. We invested a lot of money in these wood chips. Staff brought in the right product, but people don’t like it,” said Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield.

“It is on a beach, so it is a little different than some playgrounds that aren’t near beaches. So you’re getting wood chips blowing around in the sand. Obviously people had some complaints, so we made the decision.”

Council noted that replacing the fibres with sand was discussed as a temporary solution, although, sand is not considered to be an accessible material – as it can be a pain for those with mobility issues. The cost of the sand was estimated to be $15,000.

The issue, is that the Garrow Park playground was built with funds from a grant that was to ensure an accessible playground was built. So replacing the wood chips with sand would have been counter-intuitive. Concerned families added that the wood chips are not accessible either. By technical definition they are, but in practice, they say that the fibres can also cause problems for those with mobility issues.

For more information:
Council revisiting Garrow Park concerns
Safety concerns at Garrow Park

More Local News

CIBC branch manager provides update for customers

CIBC Branch manager Jackie Hailstone said Sunday's fire on Main St didn't impact the inside of the building too badly. "The inside is actually not too bad. We have more concerns around the outside of…

Main street clean up joint effort

No word yet on when Main St in Kenora will reopen to vehicular traffic. The clean up of the street is a joint effort between the Kenora Fire & Emergency Services Department, Kenora OPP and City of…

Kenora mayor proud of how the community stepped up

Kenora Mayor Dan Reynard said it's always difficult when tragic events happen in the community, such as Sunday's fatal fire in downtown Kenora. "Such a tragedy anytime we see, or feel, a loss of life…

Kiiwetinoong member lobbies for at-risk youth

Kiiwetinoong member Sol Mamakwa is lobbying for more help in the Far North, when it comes to children in care. At Queen's Park, he again questioned the government's cancellation of the child…

Tragedy and Heroes

Kenora fire chief Todd Skene is still working with investigators and business owners, after yesterday's fire on Main Street. "On behalf of the city, our thoughts are with the person, who passed away,…

Smell is 'pretty bad,' says Bargain Shop manager

Ceiling tiles look in tough shape at the Bargain Shop.Tina Desaulnier manages the Bargain Shop on Main Street, and she describes conditions she found, when she opened up this morning, "The smell…

Tenant, relative still recovering

A sacred fire is burning today in front of the Fellowship Centre. Charles Rochelieu was among those paying their respects, after he escaped from yesterday's fire. "I was in Lila's Block sleeping. The…

Main Street Kenora open to pedestrian traffic

Main St in Kenora is once again open to pedestrian traffic. The street had been closed since yesterday at noon, when emergency crews received the call about a fire, which resulted in the demolition…

Classroom cellphone ban in line with KCDSB policy

The provincial government announced some reforms to Ontario's education system late last week. One of the changes is a province-wide ban on cellphones in the classroom. Director of Education for the…

Main Street recovering

The clean-up continues on Maint Street today.Businesses on Main Street in Kenora will be recovering today, after yesterday's tragic fire. Clean-up went well into the night last night, as they cleared… is Kenora's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.