The Kids Safety Village (KSV) of Durham Region is expanding both its site and the safety programming offered to now include fire safety and prevention. On Thursday project partners, community leaders and members of the board gathered at the village to officially mark this milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony.
The expansion will have enhanced classroom space for both police and new fire safety programs, including an interactive classroom and improved office space for onsite staff. The interactive classroom will be equipped with a full kitchen, living room and bathroom with features that simulate fire and emergency situation. It also includes larger washrooms, community meeting facilities and better accessibility throughout the village. Existing buildings were recently renovated as well.
Chief Paul Martin said the KSV truly is a region-wide partnership and he's really happy that our fire partners and mayors in the respective communities have allowed their fire departments to join us in this venture.
"Thousands and thousands of children have gone through here in the last 20 years and we expect thousands more to go through here to be educated on things like personal safety, 911, how to use it properly, vehicle and pedestrian safety, bicycle and helmet safety, as well as graffiti education," he noted. "To everyone that's involved, to our volunteers, an outstanding group of people to make this work, it's really a community that comes together to make this village work so thank you all."
Whitby Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention Officer Terry Von Zuben said the fire safety component provides an opportunity to teach public education to children and others in the community.
"It's an incredible opportunity for us as educators to instill some sense of fire safety and certainly public safety into our children and others in our community as well," he said. "The work that you do here, whether you're a volunteer or you've been part of this safety village community for a while, it goes without saying that you're helping to save lives."
Since 2014, the KSV has collected $484,771 in funding from sponsors for the expansion and other future projects and are close to reaching their goal with $150,000 more to collect.
A collaboration with the Durham Regional Police Service, the Durham District School Board, the Optimist Club of Ajax and the Rotary Club of Oshawa Parkwood, the KSV, the miniature neighbourhood opened in September 1996 and a second 20-year lease was signed in June 2016.
The Kids Safety Village of Durham Region is a kid-sized version of a real town located on the grounds of Sir William Stephenson Public School in Whitby. Set on 1.2 acres, the village features small buildings, detailed roadways, traffic lights and road signs, an operational railway crossing, battery cars, bicycles and classroom facilities.
The realistic setting has allowed thousands of children in Durham to test their safety skills in a fun and educational way.
The annual Halloween Haunt is on October 28 from 5-8 p.m.
Kids Safety Village Groundbreaking Ceremony (JPG file, 481.9K bytes)