The Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground being built by the Rotary Club of West Shore at 3020 Glen Lake Rd. is nearing completion.
Long-serving Rotarian Jim Tenhove told Black Press Media the playground, located behind the newly expanded Westhills Stadium, is on schedule to be completed for the Saturday, Aug. 24 grand opening.
“It’s going to be quite moving on Saturday,” Tenhove said. “There will be a few tears.”
The playground honours the memory of Beckett, a West Shore RCMP constable and mother of two who was killed in April 2016 in the line of duty after her cruiser was struck by a drunk driver at a Langford intersection.
“The community is behind it and it’s going to be a memory place for Sarah Beckett’s two boys to go play along with dad and remember their mom,” Tenhove said.
To honour Beckett’s service to the community, he said the playground has been designed to highlight RCMP colours, such as blues and yellows.
“We support the RCMP and we’re thankful for them,” he said.
Since fundraising started in March with Lobsterfest, the rotary has raised about $150,000 for the playground by selling memorial bricks that can be engraved with a name for donations of $200 each.
When the fenced playground is complete, the memorial bricks will funnel in through an arched gate with a sign, similar to the design of the Goldstream Village welcome sign.
Other features of the playground include a dome climber, an inclusive swing and one feature with an elevated, rubber walkway that is the first of its kind in Langford.
There will also be a donor wall adjacent to the entrance to the playground, to recognize individuals and businesses that contribute more than $1,000. In the corner of the playground, there will a plaque dedicated to Beckett that her sons will put their hand prints on during the opening.
Langford Mayor Stew Young told Black Press Media completion of the playground is expected to be tight, but on time.
The Aug. 24 opening starts at 11 a.m. with family activities such as face painting, a bouncy castle, a magician, live music and costumed volunteers from Superheroes of Victoria.
At 1 p.m. there is a ribbon cutting, with Young, Premier John Horgan and other guests giving speeches.
Parking for the event is at the Belmont Secondary School parking lot at 3041 Langford Lake Rd. From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the road between the school and the playground will be closed to traffic.
Even after the opening, Tenhove said the rotary plans to continue fundraising for the playground, selling memorial bricks that can be added to the walkway and holding events.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, the rotary hosts a pancake breakfast around 8:30 a.m. and burger lunch around 11 a.m. at the Cherish retirement home, with time in between to talk to attendees about the fundraising efforts. Then, at 1 p.m., Tenhove said he will settle a fundraising bet with Cherish president and CEO Micky Fleming, with a dunk tank.
The next day, on Sunday, Aug. 18, the rotary serves lunch items at the Langford Show and Shine on Goldstream Avenue, in coordination with the Langford Legion.