NORTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – The window is closing to vote in the BCAA Play Spaces competition.

Two local playgrounds are in the running and as of Friday afternoon, occupied the top two spots.

B.C. residents who are 19 and older have until midnight Sunday to vote in the contest, with the top three finalists getting $100,000, dedicated to revitalizing their playground.

The remaining finalists will receive runner-up prizes of $30,000 (fourth place), $20,000 (fifth place), and $10,000 (sixth place).

The Sayward Community Playground was leading the way with just over 34,000 votes.

The Black Creek Playground was second with 33,807 votes.

Not far behind is the Small Wheels Playground in Oliver (32,008 votes), and the Beehive at South Canoe Elementary in Salmon Arm (28,771 votes).

Rounding out the top six is the Tl’etinqox School playground in Hanceville (13, 249 votes) and the Inclusive Play Space at the Mediated Learning Academy in Coquitlam (7,851 votes).

Sayward School playground

The playground is nearly 25 years old.

The majority of the structure is constructed from wood which is deteriorating as it ages.

This type of building material is prone to cracking, warping and splinters.

Additionally, the plastic slide is warping and buckling from sun damage and age.

The contest entry notes that a more modern playground “will make this space safer for children and families due to the construction materials used in playgrounds today.”

The school’s PAC has consulted with Habitat Systems, who has visited the site and has now provided the PAC with two design options including conceptual drawings and pricing.

“The new playground will be constructed of materials that are built to last for many generations, and will add several additional elements not included in the current playground configuration,” the entry said.  

The entry said that the PAC “has been tirelessly fundraising for a new playspace for over five years. Community members have supported us through bake sales, bottle drives, and numerous fundraising initiatives. Parents, guardians, grandparents, and sponsors have donated not only money, but time and effort into ensuring our new playspace will one day become a reality.”

Black Creek Community Centre playground

The entry for the Black Creek playground notes that the 30-year-old equipment is outdated, and showing serious signs of wear and tear.

It added that the holes in the wood posts “are perfect homes for wasps,” and the ‘ride on’ toys barely budge, lumber is rotting, and metal components are rusted and weathered.

The metal tunnel has jagged metal pieces that have to be sanded down, and the swings almost touch the chicken wire fencing in their swing arc.

“We need a whole new playground structure that is more age-appropriate, new swing sets, new fencing, and landscaping that would make the whole space more cohesive and accessible,” the entry said.

To vote, visit bcaaplayhere.com.