Will this be the end of another St. John’s public view plane?
Currently, St. John’s City Council is considering an application to permit a housing development on Nunnery Hill.
Nunnery Hill is a lane off Gower Street in the heart of downtown St. John’s. As you walk in from Gower Street, the harbour and Southside Hills greet you.
In the foreground, you may chance upon an offshore vessel moored at Marginal Wharf, or beyond, a seasonal view of the speckled hill, standing proud like an honoured soldier.
Proceeding along the lane, the vista opens up to a broader view of the harbour, including a fleet of idle sea-worn fishing boats.
Fort Amherst sits quietly, awaiting the next splash of ocean breeze.
Arriving at the lane’s guard rail, you catch The Narrows welcoming the Atlantic Ocean. Your eyes will not stay focused here for long because they glance across to absorb the historic landscape of the Battery.
Above, the rocky sides of Signal Hill climb into the sky until you spot the weatherbeaten symbol of St. John’s — Cabot Tower. After scanning the top of Signal Hill, the eyes slowly meander along the edifice-lined street until you face west. Here, Shea Heights can be seen between the framing of the TD Building and Atlantic Place.
The etched granite hillside and the coast guard vessels provide a filling to complete the picture.
All this from a location a couple minutes’ walk from Water Street!
A public view plane.
A perspective of St. John’s readily available to all.
This view plane has many visitors — the artists with their easels, the photographers with their tripods, the tourists with their cameras.
Citizens come and sit on the retaining wall absorbing and enjoying a sun-glittered harbour, or a storm-clouded ocean or a fog-shrouded Signal Hill. Sometimes, one can be fortunate to see icebergs drifting by or observe whales spouting their way across the harbour entrance.
Nunnery Hill is also a viewing platform. The Santa Claus parade, a military parade or other processions are viewed from here as they proceed along Duckworth Street.
Is St. John’s to lose this public view plane?
I urge citizens to provide councillors with their opinions on this issue.