Bigger, better community sandboxes coming back after cuts
Edmonton to reinstate community sandbox service after 'significant negative citizen feedback' to their removal
Edmonton city council is bringing back bigger and better community sandboxes after a frosty response to service cuts last winter.
- Bring back community sandboxes, urges city councillor
- Cost-saving sandbox shift not worth risk, councillor says
To save money, the city had reduced the number of public sandboxes from about 150 to five. The remaining boxes were placed at designated city maintenance yards.
Following backlash from Edmontonians, the city reversed its decision in February. Sandboxes will return to community league halls this winter.
"There's lots of ways to save money and this isn't one of the ways we should have chosen," said Michael Walters, one of the city councilors who advocated to bring back the boxes.
"This is a valuable service, a simple service, the kind of service that helps people take care of their own neighbourhoods and their own sidewalks and I think we realized from the tremendous amount of feedback received from citizens that this was worth the money."
New and improved service
The reinstated service could also feature several improvements, according to a city report.
Administration suggested placing additional boxes at public facilities such as recreation centres. Boxes should also be larger and positioned in a way that makes pickups and refills easier, the report states.
Further, inspections should be more frequent and communication more open so the boxes are never without sand.
The city presented these improvements to the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL). The federation then requested public consultation in the form of a survey.
"Sandboxes are very important to people," said Debra Jakubec, executive director of the EFCL.
"It's really good that the city listened to people and they decided that the cost savings that they would have had was not worth the issue of people not being able to access sand."
The survey will be available this fall. Administration will review feedback before council finalizes its plan to bring back bigger, better sandboxes.