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Playground closes in Dawson City after parents complain of wire in new rubber mulch

The City of Dawson closed the playground at Minto Park on Friday, after some local residents raised safety concerns about new rubber mulch installed in May.

Parents say they worry their children risk injury while playing at the playground

The playground at Minto Park in Dawson City has been closed to the public since Friday. Some local parents had complained online that there were bits of wire found in the blue rubber mulch on the ground. (Chris MacIntyre/CBC Yukon)

The City of Dawson closed a local playground on Friday, hours after a post was made on social media about parents finding pieces of metal in the rubber mulch.

The blue rubber mulch was installed at the Minto Park playground this past May, replacing the hard sandy surface that used to be there.

After the new ground covering was installed, local residents began going online to say that children were getting injured by pieces of wire found in the mulch.

"I have seen kids hanging out with their friends and kids actually putting it into their mouths and, you know, chewing on it," said Lindsay Birss.

"Maybe there wasn't wire in those bits, but you know, if anyone were to actually eat something like that, it could do some serious harm."

On Friday, a local resident posted a picture online that appeared to show a piece of mulch with wires sticking out. Within hours of the post, the City of Dawson closed the playground.

Cory Bellmore, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said she hasn't found any metal in the mulch, but that some people have brought pieces to the town office.

Rubber mulch from the Minto Park in Dawson City appears to have wires poking out of it. (Submitted by Chantal Charbonneau)

She said the municipality has contacted the manufacturer and supplier of the mulch, and hopes to have a resolution within the next week. That may involve using magnets to find and remove any bits of wire, she said.

Parents were also concerned that on warm days the rubber might release an odour that could affect the children.

"We did hear concerns about that," said Bellmore.

"The odour initially was really strong, but it seems to have reduced substantially. With any new product there's an odour and [it] takes time to dissipate."

Bellmore also said that, for now, the mulch will stay in the playground.

"We'd like to try and make use of the product we paid for and with the warranty it comes with," she said.

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