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Kirkland to get new inclusive playground

A city in Montreal’s West Island is building a new playground that is expected to more inclusive.

Meades Park, which is located beside the Kirkland arena on Hymus Boulevard, is designed so that kids with disabilities will have a place to play.

“We need a park where handicapped people will have access and where they will have the same rights to play and have fun,” said Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson.

Christine Latreille, an inclusive playground advocate, agrees.

Latreille has visited over 1,000 parks in and around Montreal and she says that while cities are making playgrounds more accessible, they’re not necessarily more inclusive.

“A lot of accessible playgrounds have nothing to actually do at them for a child in a wheelchair,” she said. “Even if they can get in, there’s nothing.”

The distinction between an accessible playground and an inclusive one, is that it is for kids of all abilities.

“All the kids can play together and learn from each other too so what’s great about the inclusive playground is that it’s really for everybody,” Latreille explained.

Meades Park will feature rubber flooring, which makes it easier to push a wheelchair.

There will also be installations with music, panels with braille and sign language, rides that can accommodate a wheelchair and roller slides.

Roller slides allow children with cochlear implants to slide without the static caused by traditional slides.

One part of the new playground will be a quiet section for kids with autism spectrum disorder.

Inclusive playgrounds aren’t very common but more are being built, which according to Latreille is step in the right direction.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a trend, but maybe there’s more awareness now,” she said.

Meades Park is expected to be open later this summer.

— With files from Global News’ Phil Carpenter

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