November 13, 2017 4:04 pm

Peterborough zoo set to improve playground accessibility

WATCH ABOVE: The playground at Riverview Park and Zoo is popular with young visitors, but a new design plan intends to make it even more accessible in the future.

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Peterborough’s Riverview Park and Zoo is aiming to redesign its playground to make it more accessible.

The municipal zoo in the city’s north end is a destination hotspot. Officials say the zoo receives around half a million visits during the summer months.

The zoo’s large playground is also popular with young visitors.

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“As it exists today, the playground is very segmented and there are several different separate areas,” said landscape architect Brian Basterfield.

“So the new plan tries to pull it all together into a nice cohesive plan that brings some of the existing spaces into one larger one.”

“The [playground areas] are also separated by landscape features like retaining walls and changes in elevations, which make the playground difficult to navigate for someone with accessibility issues,” explained zoo curator Jim Moloney.

Riverview is the only accredited zoo in Canada with free admission. The goal is to phase in the playground development with the Peterborough utilities division providing the budget.

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“In 2017, we completed an accessibility audit of the property and found some things that needed some work and we had … budgeted for a longer-term plan to do this study and improve the playground,” Moloney said.

The conceptual designs have been completed, but Moloney says an exact budget has yet to be determined for the playground improvements.

Work will begin next year and the entire project could take up to a decade to fully complete.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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