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Bringing the town to the next level

$3-million announced for community park in Conception Bay South

By Chris Lewis | July 23, 2020

The Worsley Park Centre saw its first public gathering last week since the Covid-19 social distancing restrictions were implemented in March. On hand was a dozen or so people, mostly politicians and their aides, who used the recent easing of the rules to announce funding for a new community park in Conception Bay South.

It’s slated for Long Pond on what was originally known as the Johnson property, located just behind Dominion Supermarket.  

Mayor Terry French, who has been pushing the idea for a park there for some time, was happy to see Ottawa pony up its share.

French was joined by Minister of Municipal Affairs Derek Bragg, Avalon MP Ken McDonald, and CBS MHA Barry Petten for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting held inside the Worsley Park Centre.

“We have many exciting ventures happening in our vibrant downtown core,” French said “Downtown CBS is at the heart of our retail and commercial business center … Over the past few years, wider sidewalks have been installed as one initiative to improve pedestrian safety while connecting trailway users to the commercial core.”

The town hopes the new park will add to the downtown’s developing identity.

French said a community park was one of the things the Town had been lacking, and as a part of its four-year plan, the current council committed to filling that gap.

“One of our priorities was a town park,” said the mayor. “We figured, you know, we’re big enough now as a municipality and we’ve invested a lot of money into things like hockey rinks, softball fields, rugby and soccer pitches – sporting venues. It was time to come up with a green space, a family friendly area where people can go, sit on a blanket and watch the ocean, listen to some music, and just relax. It’s about bringing Conception Bay South to the next level.”

The park, which French said will hopefully be open by the fall of next year, will feature a dual recreation surface that can switch between being a splash pad in the summer season, an ice rink in the winter, and possibly a basketball court. There will also be a stage for live entertainment. Other amenities include a trail, paved parking lot, and bathroom facilities. A highlight will be an inclusive swingset and playground for children, keeping in line with what French described as an effort to make CBS a more inclusive community, accepting of everyone regardless of mental or physical setbacks.

“Having an inclusive, safe place for all children to play is a very important feature of our future community park, and it’s something that we’re very proud of,” said the mayor. “Everyone, especially every child, should be given equal opportunity.”

French added that even the proposed trailway for the park will be built with accessibility in mind. Transitioning from one surface to the next, he said, will be as seamless as possible.

Construction will be done in phases, with the first two of those phases set for a completion date next year.

The cost of the park will be divided between the Town and the federal and provincial governments, with all three levels providing $900,000 each.

“The construction of this new park is great news for the community, as it will provide a place for residents and families to connect, and stay active,” said McDonald. “For so many families in Conception Bay South, this park is a long time coming … I know that my grandkids are going to love this when it’s completed, and I’m looking forward to us as residents having a place where the young and old can get outside and be active 12-months of the year.”

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