London & Middlesex Housing to Shut Down Playgrounds Due to Safety Concerns
Jul 11, 2018
London, ON - For years now, London & Middlesex Housing has been waving the flag regarding the broad needs of regeneration, investment in social housing and most recently in supporting social housing as a community development organization as much as a landlord. In like manner, based on a recently delivered report on the safety requirements and the current state of the playground equipment at LMCH's family-focused sites, the organization will have no choice but to shut down the use of the playgrounds until fixes and replacements can be implemented.
"Timing for this couldn't be worse," said one LMCH tenant, "our kids are home all day with school being out, this summer is hot, and now we have one less option for the kids right here at home."
CEO Josh Browne is no less frustrated with the situation. "Our stated values are to show CARE to our tenants, and it is our duty to provide safe facilities. We cannot ignore this report and simply carry on, but we share in the frustration of our tenants. We work with other organizations to try to provide a rich and well-connected roster of activities and services. This includes our Rookie League Baseball program, which I was able to take part in just this morning with many of our kids involved and the London Police Service who help coach the program. With that being said, to shut down an 'in the backyard' play space affects our tenants’ daily routine and as a father of four kids myself, I know the challenge of them seeing a playground and then having to say ‘we can't use it.’"
LMCH is quickly working on a plan of action to rectify the situation and involve the Shareholder of any proposed plan. The closure will affect over 750 families across 6 family focused sites that will need repair with costs estimated in excess of $500,000. In the meantime, LMCH staff are reaching out to local community resources in hopes of collaborating in a way that can offer tenants alternative summer activity options. LMCH will also provide information that will direct tenants to the next closest park, splash pad and pool in their area. Additionally, tenant feedback is welcomed and encouraged in order to see what temporary on-site play options can be implemented. On-location meetings are planned for next week to discuss these options.
"This is an unfortunate situation," says board member Anna Hopkins, "but it only further highlights the need for investment in our structures and programming at our locations. Our tenants deserve better, and we are eager to work with the community and the city to take this challenging situation and create positive change from it."
Questions and comments can be directed to Angela Serra at 519-434-2765 ext *237 or firstname.lastname@example.org Josh Browne, CEO, will be available on location with Counsellor Anna Hopkins, Board Member, at 11:00 am for comment at 961-1185 Huron Street.