Tofino is wondering whether to put a fence around its Village Green playground to keep kids safe.

Tofino considers fence around Village Green playground

Local grandparents raise safety concerns but council not convinced.

Tofino’s district office will look into putting a fence around the Village Green playground after local grandparents raised concerns.

Tofino’s municipal council reviewed a letter from Cathy and Lewis George last week that suggested the absence of a fence between the playground and Campbell Street is putting local kids at risk.

“It is of concern to not only myself but other grandparents and parents in the community that one day, one of the kids will run off and not knowing the dangers of traffic, potentially get hit by a car,” the letter states. “There are thousands of visitors to Tofino in the summer months and considering the incidents of a few years ago with individuals prowling around the kid’s park and the potential for abduction, I feel there is a real need for a fence to be placed around the kid’s park.”

Mayor Josie Osborne said it was the first time she had heard anyone suggest a fence was needed around the playground.

Coun. Al Anderson said the playground is safe as it is.

“I think we’ve made considerable progress and effort into making our downtown safer with traffic calming measures and more crosswalks,” he said adding the playground does not encourage play near Campbell Street.

“The focus of the playground is really inwards towards the park. I don’t agree that the playground should be fenced off and I’m not really sure if we need to take it any further than that.”

Coun. Cathy Thicke agreed and added that none of Tofino’s playgrounds are fenced.

“The one at the school doesn’t have a fence, this one doesn’t have a fence, and the one at Centennial doesn’t have a fence,” she said. “Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time at that playground, and at various playgrounds, but I’ve never had an issue and never seen an issue before…so I’m somewhat surprised at the concern, however I’m willing to refer to staff.”

Coun. Dorothy Baert suggested council direct staff to look into the playground’s safety and whether or not a fence is needed and said council could be missing something that staff might catch.

“We’re six councillors, some with kids who spend time at the playgrounds and some not, and so forth, whereas we do have some people who specifically plan playgrounds and think about safety and those kinds of things so I think it’s due diligence,” she said. “Personally I’ve been in the playground a lot and I see no need for [a fence] but I’m open minded.”