Why did the Vancouver School Board remove the playground?
The Vancouver School Board slated these older structures for removal as part of their initiative to eliminate pressure-treated wood. This type of wood was used extensively in the past but has been found to leach cadmium and other heavy metals into the soil. Removal usually means replacement of much of the surrounding wood chips and/or soil.
The other consideration is the cost of maintaining older wooden structures. In some cases, the School Board has found it too expensive to monitor and repair things that no longer meet safety codes. See here for some information about the VSB and playground maintenance.
Playground equipment is quite expensive. Parents have to weigh the cost of fundraising (and applying for grants) with the benefits of snazzy new structures. There are some wonderful possibilities out there, and you may have seen them at parks (e.g. Ceperley Park, Kits Beach) or schools (e.g. Emily Carr). Parents also have to also prioritize the options of fundraising for just a playground (which is needed immediately) while looking longer term to ensure that structures and play spaces are adequate during seismic upgrading and more importantly after seismic upgrading.