Skating trail tender awarded for St. John's park

Bonnie Belec
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Work expected to start next week on Bannerman Park facility

The ice trail planned for Bannerman Park, shown in this drawing, should be completed in time for use this winter, city officials say. — Illustration courtesy of the City of St. John’s

It’s almost summer in Newfoundland, but actress Mary Walsh is not raving about the sunshine.

She’s ecstatic about the transformation Bannerman Park is undergoing and is practically giddy with every new detail being worked on.

“I think it’s really great. People are very excited about the new things at Bannerman Park and one of the things they are most excited about, from what I hear anyway, is the new skating trail,” said Walsh, campaign chairwoman of the Bannerman Park Foundation.

“I saw the (ice trail) in Halifax and people use it like crazy. They’re really fond of it. And I can see from the Halifax oval people are really hungry for an outdoor skating rink and it will be well used. So it’s fantastic,” she said of the awarding of the tender for the park’s ice trail.

The master plan for the park’s revitalization has been ongoing for several years, but it’s only been in the past couple that a foundation has been put in place to fundraise for the project, and the past couple of months that construction work has been underway.

The plan includes an ice skating trail, a Victorian-style poolhouse, a garden of memories, a new playground and a new pavilion.

The latest piece of the overall plan is the awarding of the tender for the ice trail, which was done last week by city council to Redwood Construction Ltd. for $1,853,653.10 plus HST.

David Blackmore, the city’s director of building and property management, said the tender cost includes the construction of the trail, which will be 275 metres long and four to five metres wide, with a couple of inlets on the sides.

It also includes landscaping, lighting, a sound system and the mechanical equipment for keeping the surface cold.

“It’s moving along quite well,” said Blackmore. “Plans on the ice trail are finalized, the tender has been awarded and they anticipate work starting next week,” he told The Telegram Tuesday.

Blackmore said they’re just waiting on finalizing the contracts.

“We’re very anxious to get started. The plan is to have it up and running for this winter,” he said.

Blackmore said the total surface can accommodate up to 200 people and is designed for family and leisurely skating, not speed skating or scooting around with a hockey stick.  

“This one is even better (than the Halifax oval) because it’s more of a trail and you’re not just going around in a circle or an oval,” said Walsh, who grew up in downtown St. John’s.

“This will take you through bits and bobs of the park and it’s like a figure 8 in my mind, so it will be fabulous.”

                                                                                                                    Continued on page 2...

Organizations: Bannerman Park Foundation, Redwood Construction

Geographic location: Bannerman Park, Newfoundland, Military Road

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Recent comments

  • wayne
    June 20, 2013 - 05:38

    I am not convinced that this is the best bang for our bucks our winters are not cold long enough we have too many mild spots during winter usually wet dam our winters are unlike those on mainland where you get long cold weather spells on another light I wonder what the poor section of our community will think of such elaborate expenditure as they sit in their cold homes not able to pay for oil while the more affluent are out skating that their tax dollars paid for I HAVE TO QUESTION CITY COUNCIL IN THEIR DECISION TO SPEND MONEY IN THIS MANNER RATHER THAN TO MAKE TAXES MORE EQUITABLE BETWEEN RICH AND POOR "IF YOU HAVE ONLY 100.00 AND YOU HAVE TO PAINT YOUR HOME OR PUT OIL IN THE HOUSE WHAT WILL YOU DO"

  • Cathy Ivany
    June 20, 2013 - 04:25

    Great initiative.....looking forward to getting a new pair of skates....and joining my grandson,family and friends for a morning,afternoon or evening of skating. We have come a long way from skating on water flooded tennis courts/basketball courts ....which keep the baby boomers occupied and healthy when in our younger years. Great work Dave and The City of St. John's.

  • Darryl
    June 20, 2013 - 03:39

    A positive news story? Cant wait to hear what kind of complaints people will have about this. "Use the money for something more important" "Thats going to create so much annoying construction and noise" "I think the government needs to get their priorities straight" They could cure cancer and somebody would have a complaint about it

  • Starr
    June 20, 2013 - 02:21

    So nice to see Bannerman Park being revitalized. An skatng trail is a marvellous idea - for days its not RDF or outright rain. And then who will keep it cleared off with all the snow and blizzards? Its an ice trail so it has to be open during the winter . . . can't close it down because of snow.

  • Terry Whelan
    June 19, 2013 - 18:59

    This is wonderful Mary but it is not a totally new concept. Skated in the city maintained ballpark at bottom of the park many years ago. As you well know Mary, this park in our day was a focal point of family activity for anyone within walking distance of center and east end St. John's. That was before the swimming pool because Rennie's River was just down over the hill and bring your soap. Those too, were the days. Glad to hear of these renovations and innovations which will need to be rigidly supervised against modern day vandals. Will this of necessity become a gated and fee imposed facility I wonder. Pleasing concept, great improvement.

  • skater
    June 19, 2013 - 14:53

    what stupid idea? lol It would have even been a littler better if they had a standard type rink in the middle of that trail. what a weird idea.

  • Bob
    June 19, 2013 - 14:27

    As an avid life long skater, this is so 'cool!' (Excuse the pun.) But as a beer league hockey player, it would be great to have an outdoor rink as well. Someday perhaps!

  • Saucy Face
    June 19, 2013 - 14:23

    A sound system and lighting in that snobby neighbourhood? And you expect them to put up with that? Well, good luck with that! LOL

  • wavy
    June 19, 2013 - 14:21

    I hope whatever the surface is, it can be used for in-line skating (rollerblading) in the summer. That would be awesome.