Fully wheelchair accessible playground opens in Saskatoon
Tears filled Pearl Esau’s eyes when she watched her daughter, Natasha, play on a swing.
"As a mum, you get all emotional. I think it's been about 10 years since she's been on a swing," Esau said.
After about three years of fundraising, the fully accessible sensory playground at John Dolan School officially opened on Wednesday morning.
The park features a wheelchair-accessible swing — imported from Australia — and a variety of different textures to stimulate kids with special needs.
The playground costs $583,000 and was paid for through parents’ fundraising efforts, the Kinsmen foundation and an anonymous donor. Saskatoon’s Public School Board said it doesn’t cover playground costs.
Before the sensory playground, Esau said she and her daughter would just watch other children play — her wheelchair couldn’t get through the sand.
"Our students had nothing to do out here at all. The only piece of equipment that existed was the old swing set, which my students couldn't use,” Kathleen Underwood, the John Dolan School’s principal, said.
Esau said she plans to make more frequent trips to Saskatoon because of the sensory playground.
"We live way across town, but I expect we'll be driving here quite frequently because this is the only place we can go where she can really enjoy all kinds of things and where she can be like everybody else.”