Nature takes centre stage in the new playground at Hamsterly Beach in Saanich.
The first of its kind in the Capital Regional District park system, the nature playground aims to provide a different experience for children and a safe, unstructured play space that fits into the natural environment.
The previous playground closed in May 2021 so crews could dismantle the old structure and make way for the new one that includes accessible play elements, zones for different ages and natural structures that encourage physical literacy for differing abilities.
The playground, built using the existing landscape, local timbers and green infrastructure, is one of many improvements underway in Elk/Beaver Lake Regional Park.
A new washroom facility being built near the playground will be fully accessible, featuring flush toilets and energy efficient LED lighting and skylights.
A separate project being undertaken as part of the Elk/Beaver Lake Initiative will see equipment installed for in-lake remediation. The province contributed $750,000 to help buy an oxygenation system to improve water quality and reduce toxic blue-green algae blooms.
Both bodies of water are frequently the subject of water quality alerts, as the algae can produce cyanotoxins that cause health complications for people and can be lethal to dogs.
CRD Regional Parks manages more than 13,300 hectares of natural areas in 32 regional parks and three regional trails on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Elk/Beaver Regional Park is the busiest, with close to two million visits in 2021.
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