Brianna Tremblay likes to take her two young children to the playground when the weather is nice.

These days, however, she prefers to stay away from the new Jumpstart inclusive playground in Somba K’e Park.

“Any time I want to take pictures of my kids enjoying their time at the park I have to be careful of where I take the pictures because of the graffiti,” she says.

And Tremblay isn’t alone: Multiple residents have decried the state of the children’s play area, which has been heavily vandalized with profanity, phallic drawings and other graffiti despite only being opened to the public nine months ago.

Gillian Waugh has taken her grade 9-12 students to the park in the past. However, she recognizes the playground is likely not suitable for young children in its current state.

“It’s really important that we have a safe space where they can play and learn,” she says. “In the state that it is now, I would choose to go to a different park.”

The Canadian Tire Jumpstart inclusive playground, which opened in September, was designed to be accessible to children with a range of disabilities and special needs. The City of Yellowknife paid nothing for the park; instead, the bulk of the $1.7 million needed for the project was covered by Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart charity, with $100,000 of that price tag paid by the family that owns the local Canadian Tire.

Eleven other inclusive Jumpstart playgrounds have been installed across the country, plus inclusive baseball fields, multi-sport courts and a rink.

Carina Lee first noticed the vandalism while visiting the park over the long weekend.

“There’s graffiti everywhere and swear words and penis drawings,” she says. “It’s not great.

“How sad — a brand new beautiful park for our kids to play and it’s already trashed after a year.”

A spokesperson for the City of Yellowknife acknowledged receipt of questions related to the state of the playground but was not able to respond in time for publication.

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  1. It’s downtown. Maybe if the city and the gnwt actually took the issues downtown seriously and address them properly they might stop this behaviour