Fraser River Heritage Park. Lorraine Irvine-Roberts photo.

Fraser River Heritage Park. Lorraine Irvine-Roberts photo.

City of Mission to plant shade trees and sun-safety signs in public parks

May was proclaimed Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the city

The City of Mission is looking to plant trees and signs in local parks to try and keep people safe from sun exposure.

Mission council voted on May 2 to buy shade trees to put in Fraser River Heritage Park, Sports Park, Tunbridge Common and Ross Park; as well as sun-safety signs in strategic locations around town.

Mission is a heavily treed city, but certain areas such as community and neighbourhood parks could use more protection, according to the staff report. It says the best practice would be to start planting three-inch tree calipers.

“One of the challenges right now is actually getting some of these trees. The supply is tight, especially to get the larger ones,” said Stephanie Key, acting director of parks, recreation and culture.

She added that shade trees should be budgeted for on an annual basis, as most of their budget goes towards other amenities like equipment, surfacing, benches and fencing.

While the province provided “Sun Smart” signs to B.C. municipalities several years ago, they have since deteriorated and had to be removed, according to the report.

Staff suggest that some high-traffic areas in the city are already filled with signs, and it would be better to target specific exposed areas like Water Spray Park, Sports Park, Griner Park Pump Track, Fraser River Heritage Park Playground, Kinsmen West Playground and the Skate Park.

These signs should be removed at the end of the season and re-installed each Spring, the report says.

May was proclaimed Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month by the city in March, and a resolution was made to start promoting sun safety at parks and public facilities for educational purposes.

The proclamation was followed by a delegation from the Save Your Skin Foundation in April, requesting an awareness campaign.

Coun. Mark Davies remarked that adding sunscreen dispensers in public parks is another possible idea.

The signs will come at a one-time cost of $1,600, while $5,000 will go towards the shade trees.