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$1 million Terra Nova playground to 'set us apart'

Concept plan of the play area planned for Terra Nova. - City of Richmond image
Concept plan of the play area planned for Terra Nova.
— image credit: City of Richmond image

Children will be rafting across a slough, navigating a meadow maze, building in a sand factory and climbing across a fishing net "gymcrazium" next summer at Terra Nova Rural Park.

At a meeting Monday night at Richmond City Hall, council approved a concept plan for a new $1-million play environment at the sprawling park on Lulu Island's northwest corner.

"It's really innovative," said Coun. Linda McPhail. "I'm sure it will set us apart from other municipalities."

Designed to be unlike a traditional playground, the play environment will feature materials that offer tribute to the area's agricultural history. Tractor tires and paddock fences—installed to create a maze— will be included in the design. Natural elements, like the slough, hedgerow, fields and ditches, will be maintained.

A playhouse perched in the trees, docks on either side of the park's slough, a double zip-line, hammock swings, trampolines are also part of the design, as is a picnic area and additional parking.

Coun. Chak Au said a key to the park's planning success was using children as consultants.

"It's not a playground. This is a place where children can...really get in touch with nature," said Au, who hopes the city will invite the public to name the play environment.

Crews will begin work on the play area—in the park's northwest section—this summer, with completion scheduled for spring 2013.

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