British Columbia

Seven-year-old gets serious about fun, helps design new playground in Prince George, B.C.

The City of Prince George listened to an expert when designing its newest playground. That expert? An enthusiastic seven-year-old.

The park is part of a multi-year replacement program in the northern city

Brinley Gurney, 7, plays at the new playground she helped design at Hammond Park in Prince George, B.C. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

When seven-year-old Brinley Gurney found out her favourite playground was changing, she wasn't happy.

"My brother told me, 'Hey, the slide is gone,' and I'm like, dang it!" she said.

Brinley's family encouraged her to go down to city hall in her hometown of Prince George, B.C., to get some answers.

The slide could not be saved because the entire playground at Hammond Park was being dismantled and replaced as part of the city's multi-year playground replacement program.

However, Prince George parks supervisor Chris Bjorn suggested Brinley identify some features she'd like to have in the updated design.

The new playground at Hammond Park is part of the City of Prince George's multi-year playground replacement program. Since 2017, thirteen playgrounds have been replaced. (Nicole Oud/CBC )

"She went with her mother to each playground and picked out the items she really liked and thought were neat features," said Bjorn.

Thanks to the young Prince George resident, the new playground features lots of climbing spots, a bouncy bridge and a sliding zip track.

Brinley's mom Amanda Gurney said she's proud of her daughter's dedication.

"She really stuck with it," she said, adding her daughter sometimes returned home from school eager to phone Bjorn to share her new ideas.

Brinley (right) went with her mom, Amanda, to various Prince George playgrounds to figure out which features she wanted to see at the new Hammond Park playground. (Nicole Oud/CBC)

Brinley said she's happy with the finished design of the playground, with one of her favourite features being a bench for her grandmother to sit and watch her play.

"I came home the other day with my Nana and Papa, and there was a whole bunch of kids here," she said. "There weren't a whole bunch of kids last year."

Better, safer playgrounds

Since 2017, the City of Prince George has replaced thirteen playgrounds including Hammond Park, Jean de Brebeuf Park and Watrous Park.

The city plans to replace a dozen more over the next few years. 

"They were built in the seventies and ... have deteriorated over time," said Bjorn. "We're [moving] to better, safer playgrounds."

He estimates the Hammond Park playground cost about $120,000 to build.

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