There’s been a lot of work happening at Callander’s Centennial Park this summer. Currently, a large trench runs along the border where the park and parking lot meet, and another length of trench runs along the lakeshore.
These trenches mark the site of the new boardwalk, and mayor Robb Noon expects work to be completed soon, “hopefully by the end of next week.” The boardwalk is essentially a large concrete sidewalk which will be textured to look like stone.
The walkway will run from the parking lot to the recently installed new pavilion, and onward to the playground area. It will greatly improve accessibility for people with mobility issues or for those pushing strollers. The town is also planning to pave part of the parking lot to create accessible parking. The idea is that those spaces will connect directly to the new walkway via a paved path.
Currently, the town is looking into the best ways to make the water and beach more accessible as well. Plans are underway to design a ramp that will pass over the ‘sea wall’ along the shore, and municipal staff are investigating options to allow access into the water, perhaps with a beach mat, like the one the City of North Bay installed in 2019.
See: Second beach mat on accessibility committee's radar
All this work is part of Callander’s Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Plan. The plan has been on the table for many years, but within the past year the town received around $750,000 from the provincial and federal governments, money that put the plan into action.
See: Federal money washes into Callander’s waterfront
Since then, a new playground has been installed, a large pavilion was constructed, the board walk project is near competition, and a gazebo was installed near the pier on Lansdowne Street. The new pavilion cost $190,000—a large dent in the grant money—but the town is planning to rent out the space next summer to help generate some revenue. Discussions are ongoing as to how that will look, and currently, you can’t call for a booking.
But when bookings are allowed, there will be lights within the pavilion, as electricity will be connected soon. Some electrical outlets will also be installed in anticipation of rentals and possible musical performances. Furnishings are also coming for the pavilion, which will most likely be picnic tables.
The new boardwalk—which rang it at $160,000—is the last big-ticket item for Centennial Park and will allow easier accessibility to all park amenities. Most likely by the end of next week, the walking will be a lot smoother along the shore of Centennial Park as by then the new walkway should be completed and ready for use.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca