Holyrood Pond Park to go to tender

Residents hope park will be revitalised

By Mark Squibb | Vol. 32 No. 41 (Dec. 23, 2019)

For several who live in St. Mary’s Bay, it might just be a Christmas miracle.

Holyrood Pond Provincial Park on Route 90 near St. Vincent’s, which was sold off by the province as a cost-saving measure in the early nineties and has grown wild and unkempt since, will be going to tender.

Placentia – St. Mary’s MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh told The Shoreline in an end-of-year interview, that her understanding from Fisheries and Land Resources was that the land will be going to tender soon.

“I understand that yes, the people down there do want it revitalized, and my understanding is, from Fisheries and Land Resources, that we will put it out to tender, and see who will bid on it,” said Gambin-Walsh.

“We have a lot of land and parks and things that government can no longer financially take care of, so giving them over to a private investor through a fair and equitable process to develop, I do believe is the right thing to do.”

A follow-up e-mail to Gambin-Walsh’s office on Dec. 18 confirmed that request for proposals had been prepared and would be posted in the near future.

Over the years, many individuals have expressed concerns over the dilapidated state of the once beautiful provincial park, even forming a Holyrood Pond Development Inc. committee to, amongst other objectives, salvage the park.

Madonna Martin of St. Vincent’s is one resident who wishes to see the park restored to its former glory.

“It’s supposed to be a provincial park. And, on the map it is. But it’s just been left there like an orphan, left out in the cold, and nobody seems to care,” said Martin. “I’m just concerned about getting this park cleaned up. It’s a sin, it’s a waste of a beautiful area. It’s right on the Irish Loop, and tourists pass through here in the summer. I don’t know why this can’t be used even as a day park.”

Martin said that people would still visit the park and use it as a place to have picnics and bonfires, but that the blow downs and overgrowth will soon render the land unsafe.

Last winter, she said her husband Dan attempted to clear away some of the brush and overgrowth.

“Last winter I went over there with my dog, and I couldn’t walk through the path any more because of the blow downs,” Martin said. “I complained to my husband, and he took his power saw one day and said, ’I’ll go over and clear a path for you.’”

For his efforts, Dan Martin was awarded a ticket and a fine.

“We did pay the fine,” Martin said. “We went out to the forestry office at Paddy’s Pond. We paid the fine, and he did explain what was going on. And buddy said, ‘I know b’y, but that’s the law, no cutting at a provincial park.’”

Martin said the park has untapped potential to serve both residents and tourists, and provides ample opportunities for hiking, swimming, and even fishing. It’s still beautiful down there. It just needs some tender loving care to spruce it up.”

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