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Parents, children saddened after Vancouver Park Board takes toys out of 'toy park'

Last Updated Dec 21, 2018 at 3:31 pm PDT

Children and their parents were disappointed by the Vancouver Park Board's decision to remove toys from Granville Park. (Source: Change.org petition)

A group of parents is asking the Vancouver Park Board to bring back the toys removed from Granville Park

The board says they were removed for safety reasons and they had received complaints about them

A petition has been started asking for the toys to be brought back.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – At a time when many kids are expecting to get more toys, a decision has been made to take them away from Granville Park. But it’s not the Grinch that’s made this move, it’s the Vancouver Park Board.

A group of parents are now fighting the decision to clear out the toys, including push bikes, diggers and dump trucks from the park. The board says the toys were removed for health and safety reasons, and that staff had received some complaints about them.

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But parent Max Rees isn’t convinced, and neither are his children.

“I’m sorry guys, they’re very upset by this,” he says as he attempts to calm his crying child. “The kids loved it. They loved the toys.”

Rees acknowledges some of the toys weren’t in great shape, even saying that some had started using the park to dump garbage and broken items. But overall, he says the kids still enjoyed playing with the shared toys.

“I don’t think there was really any issue of anyone reasonably injuring themselves on them,” he says. “All of the parents who came here and all the kids that came here enjoyed the fact that were lots of toys to play with. I think everybody got a lot of use out of these toys, and there was a lot of life still left in them.”

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Others parents have even started a petition asking staff to return the toys to the area that has been affectionately called “toy park” by some parents and caregivers.

“This used to be a place where kids learned to walk using the walkers, play in the sand with diggers and buckets, race down the hill on riding cars, used imaginative play with the many props and learned to share. All that is left are the play structures – the joy of this park for our kids is gone,” reads the petition.

According to the petition, they say staff have indicated they were told leaving toys in the park at night could be a tripping hazard, and it’s been frustrating for city staff to clean up all the toys in order to do park maintenance.

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“Yes, the hazardous broken toys should be removed, but some of the broken things that were still safe were some of the items that the kids had the most fun with,” it reads.

So far, the petition has gained just over 100 of its targeted 200 signatures.

Park Board: toys removed for health and safety reasons

According to the board, ‘numerous’ parks around the city have had toys removed.

“Health and safety is a priority in all city parks. After receiving several complaints through 311 staff visited the park and noticed many of the toys were broken and scattered about and the decision was made to clean up and remove all the toys,” reads a statement.

As for whether the Park Board would be willing to have a change of heart, it says it’s open to finding “creative solutions” and working with the community.

– With files from Estefania Duran