CORNER BROOK It’s been a slower process than anticipated, but the new municipal park at Bartlett’s Point should be a functional facility by the end of this construction season.
The park is located on the only publicly accessible waterfront property owned by the City of Corner Brook and its development has been a priority for the city for several years now.
The $1.2-million project got off to a strong start with the bulk of the funding for the first phase contributed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
However, unexpected changes to the federal agency’s mandate meant the loss of continued funding for this project. For the last two years, the City of Corner Brook and the Corner Brook Stream Trail Development Corporation, which has been doing the work to develop the area, have been scrounging for dollars to make progress with the plan.
That has meant applying for funding through provincial government sources, in addition to the city committing cash from its coffers.
Mayor Neville Greeley said the city’s commitment to the project has not wavered, despite the funding challenges encountered.
“(The lack of ACOA funding) left a large hole in our revenue stream to complete the project,” said the mayor. “That has caused significant delays in moving it forward, but it hasn’t been forgotten about.”
Greeley, who was interviewed while attending municipal meetings in St. John’s, did not have all of the financial details available with him Friday. The City of Corner Brook said it would be Monday before it could provide all of the details.
Greeley could say that the City of Corner Brook is contributing $156,000 towards the completion of the next phase of the project this year.
Work on the project resumed recently. Though still considered a construction site, the park now has a service building with operational washrooms with water and electrical power hooked up. Before this construction season ends in the fall, most of the landscaping will have been done, as will the trail network and site lighting. There are already benches placed along the trail network and two gazebos will eventually be constructed in the picnic area.
The playground area will also be prepared, although it has yet to be determined whether the playground equipment will be installed this year or in the spring.
“We still haven’t got confirmation of the order, so it’s going to be a month or two before the equipment even gets here,” said Brent Humphries, executive director of the Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation. “It will be ordered, but whether it gets installed this year, I don’t know.”
Depending on the availability of funding, Humphries said there cold be some asphalt put down on the service road leading into Bartlett’s Point from Petries Street and around the service building.
Grass seed has been planted in certain areas too, rather than more expensive sodding, so the results of that will be more dependent on the weather.
“We’re hoping to get a decent fall to get that established,” said Humphries. “If not, maybe some touch up work will need to be done in the spring.”
Greeley expects the park will have an official opening next spring or summer.
“It’s a beautiful, peaceful location right on the water,” he said. “You are a world away from anything happening. It’s important or the city to get this project completed to have it available for residents and tourists alike.”