'There was no sign, no warning': Parent upset at lack of communication from city about injuries at playground
VANCOUVER -- Jen Bye spends lots of time at playgrounds with her two young kids, ages one and three. So when they were downtown, the family decided to spend some time at Andy Livingstone Park, not knowing there were reports children had experienced burning eyes, lips, face and hands after being on the playground there.
The initial post came from social media. Local parents shared an email from a nearby daycare centre warning that some of the children there had experienced the symptoms, and that the symptoms were believed to be a result of the playground equipment itself.
The day care informed parents that the city and the Vancouver Park Board had been notified of the situation and the park was closed for cleaning Friday afternoon.
It was reopened Saturday morning, however, and when CTV News Vancouver told Bye about the reports she immediately told her husband to get the children off the equipment and said they were leaving to go wash up.
Minutes after Bye spoke to CTV News, city crews showed up to tape off the park again and begin pressure-washing the playground.
“That’s really quite upsetting that the city knew there was a problem and there was no sign, no warning that it was being sectioned off and now it’s being re-sectioned off,” said Bye.
CTV News requested an interview with the city Saturday, but no one was available. In an emailed statement, spokesperson Christine Ulmer said:
“On Friday afternoon, Park Board was contacted by 311 with a request to clean the play structure at Crosstown Park. Parks operations responded and cleaned the play structure with water on Friday afternoon.”
There were reports of similar symptoms at a Mission water park last month. One witness posted on social media that young children were crying from the burning sensation in their eyes and mouths caused by an unidentified substance believed to be bear spray.
At least 15 people, including parents, were affected in that incident and treated by paramedics.
“It is really just an odd scenario,” said Cpl. Nathan Berze, spokesperson for Mission RCMP, on July 15. “But whenever there’s an incident that involves children, it just is another level and so we’re really eager to find out exactly what went on here.”
The City of Vancouver would not confirm what may have caused the burning sensation at Andy Livingston Park. Vancouver police tell CTV News they are unaware of the incident.