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Town marks grand opening of playground - Jun. 04, 2014


Barb Rayner/Courier
Seven-year-old Sophie Holt was having fun at the renovated Saint Andrews community playground which was officially opened Saturday.

Barb Rayner
Saint Andrews
On a sunny Saturday morning, hundreds of parents and children turned out for the official opening of the renovated community playground following a Shriners parade through the town.
The playground, which was originally built in 1993, was in desperate need of renovations so last year the community came together to raise the $200,000 needed, then hundreds of volunteers turned out to help with the rebuilding last September.
Speaking on behalf of the playground committee, Lesley O’Leary, said the region-wide rebuilding effort spoke to a tradition of working together as a community.
“It was built with your minds, your hands, your tools and, in many cases, your money... This playground belongs to all of us and we are all entrusted to cherish it. We understand the importance of healthy, active children.”
O’Leary said the committee was also fortunate to be able to partner with another group of individuals who have devoted their lives to improving the lives of children all over the world – the Shriners – and she thanked them for being part of the celebration.
The Shriners have a special place in the hearts of Lesley and David O’Leary as their 10-year-old daughter Anna has received treatment through the Shriners Hospital for Children.
Speaking on behalf of the Canadian Shriners Hospital, which was founded in 1925, Lisa Dutton said more than 300 children from New Brunswick are treated at the hospital and in the outreach clinic in Bathurst.
The Shriners are in the process of building a new hospital, and a group - the Exceptional Care Odyssey – is touring Canada to raise awareness for the facility.
The trip is an opportunity to inform parents from coast to coast about the specialized orthopaedic care provided to infants, children and teens for such conditions as scoliosis, brittle bone disease, club feet, hip dysplasia, leg length discrepancies and cerebral palsy
Superintendent of the New Brunswick Southwest School District, Zoë Watson, and Charlotte-Campobello MLA Curtis Malloch offered their congratulations on the completion of the playground, then Mayor Stan Choptiany declared it officially open.
“It was a magical moment when we finished that night in September,” said Choptiany, who was one of the many volunteers who turned out to help with the project and he offered special thanks to Lesley O’Leary as well as the Shriners for all the work they do.
David O’Leary gave a special thank you to the Shriners from his family from the bottom of their hearts and said they were an amazing group of people.

barb@stcroixcourier.ca