The City of Abbotsford will apply for $140,000 in federal funding to expand the Go Play Outside initiative that was launched last year in response to the closure of recreation centres due to the pandemic.
The expanded program would include the purchase of an “outdoor mobile skating surface” to provide free ice skating during the winter.
The pilot Go Play Outside project ran for eight weeks last summer using funding that was reallocated from the temporary closure of Centennial Outdoor Pool in Mill Lake Park.
The program offered free outdoor recreation activities at local parks, including outdoor fitness classes and sports programs, Culture Kits and volunteer activities. Low-cost summer camps for kids were also available.
All activities followed physical-distancing protocols.
A staff report represented to Abbotsford council at its executive committee meeting on March 8 said the initiative was “very successful.”
Funding has since been made available through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative, which is providing a total of up to $31 million to communities as they respond to the needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years.
The staff reports says that, if the funding is approved, Go Play Outside would continue to run this summer, through the fall and winter and into June 2022.
“This year-round outside programming component would help to combat the social isolation and profound mental and physical impacts that have resulted from the necessary public health restrictions,” the report states.
Individual communities can apply for $5,000 to $250,000 for their projects.