OPEN TO RELAX – Gander’s parks and recreation director, Dan Deschamps, predicts the redeveloped Cobbs’ Pond Rotary Park will be a busy place this summer as people gather to celebrate special occasions, or come there just to relax.
It’s been a while in the making, but the newly-redesigned Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park is ready for the public.
And according to Gander’s parks and recreation director Dan Deschamps, it will be one busy spot this summer, including grand opening ceremonies to be held in conjunction with Canada Day celebrations on July 1.
“The park itself is pretty much done, and it looks great,” Deschamps told The Beacon last Friday, referring to the major redevelopment work that has taken place at the park. “There are a few things that need to be done, such as the water fountain for the pond and some signage, but overall the park is ready to be used and enjoy.”
The redevelopment plans for the park, which was officially opened in 1983, had been several years in the planning stages. The actual work began just over a year ago.
According to Deschamps, what has been done to date is in the first phase of the redevelopment and there is more to come.
However, before another phase is started, he said the park is once again ready to be used for its intended purpose when first created more than 30 years ago.
On the Rotary Club of Gander’s website, the original park concept developed in 1981 was to have “a place where individuals and families would enjoy a relaxing or invigorating walk along a boardwalk and trail around the shores and through the wooded areas of Cobb's Pond . . . enjoy a picnic or play in an open field and a well equipped sandlot.”
It was also intended as a place where “. . .a place where a family would have a designed spot to place a park bench, plant a tree or mount a plaque to commemorate a loved one; a place to canoe . . . to preserve the wild flora, and, on occasion, to catch a glimpse of wildlife in its natural habitat.”
While the original plan filled these needs, Deschamps said today’s redeveloped park, as well as future plans, expands on the idea.
“We’re hiring students so we can have a drop-in summer program and activities at the park,” he said. “We’re also looking at the possibility of canoes and paddle boats. There’s a beach volleyball court and an expanded play area for children.
“One of the most interesting areas is the bowl area with permanent stage, which will allow for a variety of activities to take place. Then there are the areas for relaxing (lounge chairs and benches) and the open green spaces, it’s just an amazing park.”
One of the original ideas was also to have the park as the setting for civic holiday celebrations.
Deschamps said Gander Day activities will once again be returning to the park after two years of having to be relocated.
“It’s looking very promising to be a busy place this summer for sure,” he said. “We haven’t had any great amount of good weather so far, but the few days we have had there have been lots of people down walking the boardwalk and the park itself, or playing on the playground equipment.
“With the activities we have planned there should be something for everyone do and enjoy at the park.”
To ensure the park is well maintained, the town has taken another step.
Though his department, Deschamps said a full-time attendant has been hired, and is already working to keep the park in tip-top shape.
He added that even though there is a full-time attendant at the park, everyone has a role to play in the park’s upkeep, and he encourages users to pick up after themselves, especially their pets.
While the park itself is ready for use, Deschamps said some work is still required to complete the building.
“We’re more than happy with the park, but there were some things in the building we weren’t happy with. We’re working with the consultant and contractor now on getting them fixed,” he said. “They have a list and we want them done for the grand opening. That’s our plan, and hopefully it all works out.”