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Grant boosts Qalipu vision for renewed ParticiPark trail in Corner Brook

Kelly Hann and her son Elliott O'Dell enjoy a walk on the ParticiPark trail in Corner Brook in 2018.
Kelly Hann and her son Elliott O'Dell enjoy a walk on the ParticiPark trail in Corner Brook in 2018. - File photo

Another step has been taken towards rejuvenating the old ParticiPark trail in Corner Brook.

At its public meeting Oct. 7, Corner Brook city council ratified a decision made at a private meeting Sept. 23 to approve a contribution of up to $112,000 to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation's proposal to help redevelopment of the ParticiPark trail.

Keith Goulding, Qalipu's band manager, noted this is an initiative Qalipu hopes to develop in partnership with the City of Corner Brook, Kinsmen Club of Corner Brook, Grenfell Campus of Memorial University, Western Health and the Corner Brook Stream Development Committee.

“Walking trails are great and green spaces need to be protected and developed,” Goulding said.

Margaret Bowater Park as seen from the lookout on the ParticiPark trail in Corner Brook.
Margaret Bowater Park as seen from the lookout on the ParticiPark trail in Corner Brook.

For their part, Goulding said Qalipu wants to create a medicine walk, which would involve holding guided tours that highlight traditional and holistic uses of plants, along with posting signs highlighting the flora and fauna along that section of trail.

The money approved for Qalipu is only a fraction — representing roughly seven percent of the project's net cost — of the bigger picture envisioned by the partners. 
Goulding said Qalipu is now investigating how the band can move forward with its partners on this $1.7 million project, which is hoped to be developed in steps over the course of the next couple of years.

“We’ll (Qalipu) help in any way we can with this trail redevelopment,” he said, adding the band tries to be representative in all 67 communities their wards reach.

Dave Randell of the Kinsmen Club of Corner Brook said it’s still a little too early to nail down exactly what will happen with the ParticiPark redevelopment as partners are still working to get financing into place.

He said Kinsmen and the City of Corner Book will be contributing some funds but, until they can finalize what contributions may come from other funding sources, they won’t really know what the full scope of the project will be.

Randell said it could end up being something different than the current vision if they can’t raise the money they need.

“It’s a long process applying for funding and finally getting it,” he said.

The Kinsmen and the Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation have long wanted to do something with that section of trail, said Randell, as it ties into the Corner Brook Stream Trail network nearby.

Randell said it is hoped the combined efforts of the partners will rejuvenate the trail to their expectations, but it will take some time.

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