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Bay Roberts has plans for historic railway station

The railway station sits alongside the Bay Roberts Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex, as well as the town’s new splash pad, which got plenty of use during the hot summer season.
The railway station sits alongside the Bay Roberts Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex, as well as the town’s new splash pad, which got plenty of use during the hot summer season. - Chris Lewis

Town’s splash pad gives old structure new life

BAY ROBERTS, N.L.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

CANADA

Following the success of the new splash pad in Bay Roberts, the old railway station may be receiving a new makeover in the coming months.

During a regular meeting of council in Bay Roberts, held on Tuesday, Sept. 11, council discussed the possibility of breathing some new life into the railway station, located alongside the Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Complex. Normally, the building sits vacant, but councillors recently discussed new ways they could put the structure to use.

Originally, the topic was brought up by Mayor Philip Wood during his heritage advisory report. He said that when the painting on the building was looked into, it was discovered that there was some work that would need to be done on the shingles. These shingles were not a part of the original restoration in 2007, giving them priority over any other work slated for the structure.

“Right now, all we have (in the budget) is $10,000 for the painting and any work. As the quotes stand, the shingles would cost approximately $8,000, which would need to be done before any painting is done. The painting is estimated to cost around $7,000.” Wood said.

Wood explained that the town qualifies for some money in this instance as well, and are looking at a 50/50 split on maintenance to the structure. Since painting the building is considered maintenance, he town can qualify for $3,500. With regard to the shingles, they are considered restoration work as opposed to maintenance, because the shingles were not a part of the original structure. All of this means that this work will fall under the $10,000 budget money allocated for such work.

However, it’s not just some new shingles and paint in store for the railway station. Given its proximity to the town’s recreation complex, as well as the new splash pad, Bay Roberts’ recreation director Ian Flynn, as well as the town’s heritage director deduced that the building would serve as a great place to host a new changing area for those taking part in any splash pad related activities.

“The heritage foundation always smiles upon the fact that heritage buildings are useable, as opposed to just being stationary, empty structures,” said Wood.

As a part of this new use, the building would require larger doors in order to make the changing area wheelchair accessible. This is something council will look into when the time comes.

Flynn later explained to councillors that the inside of the building actually makes for an ideal changing room, with a favourable layout to build both a male and female changing room.

“It can certainly be modified at a decent price, without having to make any major changes to the building,” he said. “Basically, we’re just making use of what’s already there. You’ll still have to install electrical and plumbing, and still have to follow all those guidelines. But, it’s still going to cost less at the end of the day, because we won’t have to build a building, just remodel one.”

Coun. Dean Franey also spoke up about the topic, stating he saw this as a good use for the railway station.

“I won’t mind saying that I was never really a fan of where that building was located,” he said. “But, seeing as how it’s there, I think I’d much rather see it be put to use rather than just standing there, empty. It’s there, and I guess now I’m a bit happier knowing that it’ll have a proper use.”

Flynn also explained that as of now, the inside of the building has been used as something of a storage unit, with lights and other holiday items being stored there until their time comes. When spring rolls around, he suspects workers will carry out a spring cleaning of the building, and find a better place to hold these items.

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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