Family’s labour of love nets national honour

Chad Feehan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
October 6, 2023 Edition

The Town of Bay Roberts received a nod at the Communities in Bloom National and International Awards ceremonies last week in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The community was given a 5 Blooms, or Bronze, rating in the Circle of Excellence Evaluated category, with Kenneth W. Jerrett Memorial Park on Water Street being given a special mention.

Communities in Bloom is a volunteer organization with judges drawn throughout the country who use competitive evaluations to encourage community beautification, environmental sustainability and heritage conservation.

As well as Canada, communities in Ireland, Italy, Slovenia and South Korea were also honored by the awards.

Kenneth W. Jerrett was a resident of Bay Roberts who had planned to develop the area the park now stands on as his personal retreat. He purchased it in 1996, but the project was put on hold due to health issues. He died in January 2020 from complications of chronic granulomatous disease, which he had battled his entire life.

Jerrett spent the last two years of his life on oxygen, but still managed to practice law.

The property was left to his mother, Betty Jerrett, who developed it into what is now an award-winning park.

Jerrett’s father Eric Jerret said the family is pleased with the park and the reception it’s received.

“To receive national attention… it’s very special,” he said.

Jerrett has heard multiple testimonials of people enjoying the park, and inquisitive would-be users asking for its whereabouts after hearing about it for the first time.

Ron Delaney, the director of tourism and development with the Town of Bay Roberts, said the park is a “wonderful addition” to the community, and a great gift from the Jerrett family in honor of their son.

“When you go down over the hill and read all the storyboards and… sit and relax, it’s quite a unique park,” he said.

While it was the Jerrett family that built and maintains the park, the 5 Blooms go to the Town of Bay Roberts, as the Communities In Bloom competition is for municipalities.

Aside from the recognition, the family is happy with being able to provide the community with “a nice place for people to go,” said Eric Jerrett. “I’m sure Kenneth would be pleased with what happened as a result of his property.”

Visitors to Kenneth W. Memorial Park in Bay Roberts can read a memorial sign with backstories about both the site and its namesake’s life. The site at one time hosted a grocery store, dry goods store, and eventually a snack bar. One section reads, “Kenneth Warren Jerrett lived life with courage, dignity and fortitude – a life well lived.” Photo by Eric Jerrett

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