Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe,??cutting the ribbon to officially open the play park at Parish Land, Christ Church, with the assistance of some of the children from that neighbourhood.?? (Image: NCC)

Despite challenging economic circumstances, the National Conservation Commission (NCC) is forging ahead with its mandate to have a play park established in every community.

And, last Saturday, children of Parish Land??in Christ??Church squealed in delight, as they??ran, swung, jumped and slid in that community’s first such recreational facility.

Addressing the play park’s official opening, Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, pledged his commitment to ensuring that all that was possible continued to be done, given the current economic climate.

"Remember a lot of what you are seeing happening around you is happening in the context of extremely strenuous economic times. Our Government came into office with a plan… to enable the NCC to do more work across Barbados. And, I must compliment the leadership and staff of the NCC for the work they have been doing to improve the beauty of Barbados.

"…what Barbados looks like tomorrow, will depend upon what they do for Barbados today. And, therefore, I am going to do whatever I can do to ensure that the necessary resources are provided for the NCC so that they can continue to do this wonderful work," he assured.

In addressing the gathering, General Manager of the Commission, Keith Neblett, said the park was one in a series already opened this year.

"We are following our mandate to have a park in every community. Certainly, with the resources available these days, some things have had to be put on hold, but we will certainly pursue them in the next financial year.??

"We at the NCC will continue to work with the general public, PTAs and schools, in terms of providing the requisite equipment to assist them in providing such recreational facilities," he added.

Underscoring the importance of play parks, and recreational spaces in reducing the incidence of childhood obesity, Mr. Neblett urged residents to "adopt the park" by doing all that they could to ensure that the equipment was kept in good condition.

"Government expends quite a bit of money annually…however,?? it seems like sometimes we just take things for granted and destroy them, not recognising that it is a?? cost to taxpayers," he lamented.

Notwithstanding the recent focus on new technologies including play stations among the youth, the NCC spokesman said one thing which he had observed in his over 20 years at the NCC, was that play parks served to unite families.

"There are some families who have never said a word to each other, and by coming into recreational parks we have seen them have discussions because children force them to do that," he remarked.

Mr. Neblett stressed that while one could not take away from what was happening today – in terms of the youth being "caught up" with new technologies, parents still needed to find time for physical recreation with their children.

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