Local residents are sharing concerns about their children’s safety while playing at Kenora’s Garrow Park’s playground.

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.

She says that children are routinely getting splinters, some have gotten infections, and showed council a picture of one of the wood fibres going through a child’s sandal. DeGagne then invited councillors and Mayor Dave Canfield to walk across the fibres barefoot during the council meeting.

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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.

Winnipeg resident Christine Simpson, who was visiting the park with her young daughter, says that the fibres should be replaced if children are getting injured, but she hasn’t had any issues with them.

“They’re nice. It’s a softer landing for the children. My daughter hasn’t had any complaints or issues with them. Those concerns have to be taken into consideration, you don’t want to see anybody getting hurt, but my daughter and I haven’t had any issues.”

The city’s Accessibility Advisory Committee is recommending that a rubberized surface be put in place, instead of the wood fibres. Council noted that replacing the fibres with sand could be a temporary solution.

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