$1.5M facelift for Saint John's Rockwood Park should be complete by year's end

·2 min read
An aerial view of Rockwood Park's Duck Pond as seen from over Lily Lake.  (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)
An aerial view of Rockwood Park's Duck Pond as seen from over Lily Lake. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)

The City of Saint John hopes to complete Phase 3 of the Rockwood Park redevelopment project by the end of the year.

The $1.5 million project will focus on the area around the Duck Pond and interpretive centre near the entrance to the 890-hectare (2,200-acre) park.

The project is currently in the public consultation phase, explained Cameron Whitcomb, the project manager for the city.

As part of that process, he said, the city held two public information sessions at the park's interpretive centre on Thursday, where members of the design team from Gemtec Consulting Engineers and Scientists were on hand to answer questions from the public.

Submitted by GEMTEC
Submitted by GEMTEC

Marco Sivitilli is a civil engineer and Gemtec's project manager for the Rockwood Park work. He said there are a number of improvements included in the third phase, the largest of which focuses on the causeway between Lily Lake and the Duck Pond.

The road will be reinforced and widened to allow for a multi-use trail, which currently doesn't exist. The current designs show the proposed roadway width about twice the size it is now.

New lights will also be added to the widened route.

Submitted by GEMTEC
Submitted by GEMTEC

Sivitilli said the designs as presented at the public information session are just proposals and are subject to change based on public feedback, and suggestions from the City of Saint John. They're also subject to change based on permits and environmental approvals, he said.

Whitcomb said the $1.5 million for this phase comes to the city from the federal government through the gas tax fund.

He said the city prioritized the area around the Duck Pond.

Roger Cosman/CBC
Roger Cosman/CBC

"It's in pretty bad shape and it needs some renewal, so we focused on that area," he explained.

Although Gemtec used the city's priorities in order to come up with the proposed design, Whitcomb said the designs could be tweaked based on feedback from the public.

Sivitilli said officials are working through the permitting process with the Department of Environment and other regulatory agencies. He said the design should be completed soon, which will allow for tenders to go out this summer.

Submitted by GEMTEC
Submitted by GEMTEC

The goal is to have construction done by the end of the year.

While there will be some traffic showdowns in the park during the construction phase, Sivitilli said the plan is to keep traffic moving through the park as much as possible, and access to the Interpretive Centre will be maintained throughout.

Some of the existing features will also be upgraded, including landscaping around the Duck Pond, and the decking and stairs around the Interpretive Centre.

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