The Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground is slated to open on Aug. 24 this year to correspond with the grand opening of the nearby Westhills Stadium.
That means the Rotary Club of West Shore is up against a hard deadline for coming up with the $250,000 needed to buy playground equipment for the new memorial park.
“The equipment has been ordered. Now we need to find some money to pay for it,” Rotary member Dianna Seaton says with a laugh. “We’re definitely not halfway there, long way to go.”
West Shore residents felt a great loss after local RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett was killed in the line of duty, says Seaton. For the community, donating to a park in her name has been a “special way of expressing your feelings,” she said.
The positive response from residents and businesses has been “overwhelming,” she added. “People have been great.”
Beckett, a mother of two, was killed by a drunk driver in April 2016.
The Rotary has so far come up with a variety of new initiatives to help raise the rest of the money.
Grant requests are being sent to municipalities. (View Royal has already given $5,000.) Donation boxes are being set up at municipal halls. (They are still coming in and should be available soon.) And donations over $25 are receivable online at westshorerotary.org.
The amount of money raised this past weekend during Easter celebrations on Millstream Village was “significant,” Seaton said.
Rotarians will be setting up a table at Pacific FC’s inaugural game this Sunday. They are hoping residents donate to have an engraved brick (plus a tax receipt) surround the playground, at the cost of $200.
They will be able to have a short message inscribed in the brick. Up to five hundred bricks are available, which if all sell could net $100,000 on its own.
While no dates have been set, organizations have offered to host fundraising events. A car wash or a barbecue at the Shamrocks game have been suggested so far and could very well be in the offing.
The playground, once complete, would have one area with equipment suitable for 2-5 year olds, and one area for 5-12 year olds, according to the city website. It will be adjacent to the Westhills Stadium.