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New mobility mat, swing, improvements arrive for Channing Beach

Channing Beach has a new look for this summer, with some additions from a local committee and a regional grant.

Channing Beach has a new look for this summer, with some additions from a local committee and a regional grant.

The beach now has a trio of upgrades meant to make it more accessible - a Mobi-Mat allowing people with wheelchairs, walkers and mobility aids to reach the water, a new wheelchair-accessible picnic table and new swings. The new items were installed last week and are ready to use, right ahead of the coming summer season.

The Northern Neighbours Foundation funded the projects, providing money to the Channing Recreation Committee, who oversaw the work over the past week.

“We had heard about these mobility mats and they have them at Clearwater Lake in The Pas,” said Carrie Stinton.

“We had heard about them so we thought, ‘That’s something that could kind of be our last hurrah as a committee - we will make the beach more accessible.’”

Stinton is a founding member of the committee - formed in 2008, the group was made of people living in the community, mostly parents, wanting to give kids something to do. More than a decade and a half later, the committee is still going, having overseen several projects, including a new playground on Jones Square, the bunk and surrounding structures at Kirkland Drive and a swing set and bench at Waly Heights.

Stinton is the only original member left living in Channing and helped drive the work at the beach, which has seen a jump in summer activity in recent years. The City of Flin Flon, along with local volunteers, installed the equipment and maintain the beach, but the improvements came from the committee.

“Anything that is currently at Channing Beach right now has been purchased through fundraising and grants by the Channing Recreation Committee - everything,” she said.

The committee’s original goals included building a bunk and warm-up shack, revamping the beach and providing safe places for kids to play. Those goals are now met - Stinton said the committee has only one main goal left from its debut.

“When our committee started, our goals and our dreams have been met. We wanted the beach to be usable and it is - it’s packed down there all summer long. We wanted to get a nice rink and a warm-up shack and fix up the other parks - that’s all been met,” she said.

“The only thing we still had on our wishlist that we didn’t get to complete was a walking path along Channing Drive that connects Channing to Flin Flon - that was one of our goals and we haven’t met that yet.”

Stinton hopes the committee will see a resurgence, with new volunteers helping out, new families moving into the area and the things it helped build being used more than ever before.

“We hope that some other parents will take it on, like ones that have younger children. At this point, we have a couple of committee members who are still helping because they are grandparents of children that now live in Channing. Their children are grown up but they have grandchildren and they're still helping,” she said.

“We hope that it will be taken on by some families that have younger children, but it hasn’t happened so far.”

In the meantime, the committee will continue working - they will install new playground items at the Jones Square park later this summer, including a bench, picnic table and a new spinner.

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