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Castlegar plans Canada’s tallest castle play structure

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A new castle playground to be built in Castlegar’s Millennium Park is expected to become a tourist attraction thanks to its height.

From the ground to the top of the flagpole, it will be 12 metres tall.

“After doing research we have established it will be Canada’s tallest castle play structure,” engineering manager Travis Christianson told city council today as the design was unveiled.

The project is part of the third phase of improvements to the park, for which the city received a provincial-federal grant worth nearly $1.2 million, representing just under three quarters of the total project cost. The local contribution will be about $436,000.

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The funding is also expected to pay for an accessible walking trail in the park.

Christianson says they have been working with a European company that has designed and built other castle playgrounds.

“Space ships, pirate ships and treehouses are cool, but we’re in Castlegar, so it had to be a castle,” he quipped.

The playground, to be built from Robinia hardwood, will make Millennium Park a must-see destination for tourists, he added.

The custom-designed playground’s features would include slides, climbing wall, fire pole, net bridge, and in imitation drawbridge.

But Christianson says there is a lot of work to be done before it can become reality. They need to verify their preferred location, which is within a forested area south of the Millennium swimming ponds.

He says a lengthy archaeological assessment is underway on the site, and they should hear the results in the fall. If that pans out, they will go to tender, notify First Nations, and host site meetings. An opening could happen in the early summer of 2023.

Councillor Cherryl MacLeod said she was “thrilled” about the project and liked how the design shows a closed-in structure.

Councillor Brian Bogle asked about maintenance.

Christianson replied the hardwood will be “inherently” weather resistant and will be stained, which wouldn’t need to be replaced for 10 to 15 years. It would also be built on a low-maintenance rubberized surface.

Although a year and a half has passed since the initial grant application was submitted for the project, Christianson added that it appears to be on budget.

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