Development continues at local park
The Gander Heritage Memorial Park is being constructed as a place to honour the town’s past, and to leave a legacy for all to admire.
© Brandon Anstey/tc•Media
REMEMBRANCE – The Gander Heritage Memorial Park is on a fast track to completion, said Wilson Hoffe, chairperson of the project. The area will serve as a place to remember and honour the history of Gander.
As construction continues on the corner of Airport Boulevard and Lindbergh Road, satisfactory progress is being made, said Wilson Hoffe, chairperson of the project.
“We started up a few weeks in earnest of completing the four phases that we initially set for ourselves,” said Hoffe. “Really, we had two phases finished last year, and this year we will finish the remaining two phases.”
One of the key pieces of the park’s design is the incorporation of the Airmen’s Memorial Wall of Honour, formerly housed by the North Atlantic Aviation Museum. According to Hoffe that key piece will soon be on display in the area.
“These next two phases will consist of installing the Airmen’s Memorial, which we presently have the forums up. Within the next week or 10 days, the memorial will be moved and reinstalled on the site. We had to get that done first because after the walkways are put in, you don’t want to be moving heavy equipment in over it to be digging it up.
“We had a sizeable hole there, and there’s a huge foundation for the bottom because this monument is going to hold an awful lot of wind. You don’t want the wind to blowing it over and this one will never blow over.”
Laying down walkways that interestingly align with Gander Airport’s runways will be another big step in this year’s development of the park, said Hoffe.
“The second part of the work this year is to do the walkways and put paving stones all along the walkways. Prior to that would be to do the underground electrical work, and the water services.”
The area has recently been stripped of its grass because it was in poor condition, said Hoffe, and that’s all part of the redevelopment process.
“We’re taking all of that out there and replacing it with other materials. There will be a lot of shrubs and bushes planted around as well. We’ll have a lot less grass than what was there before, which will cut down on the on-going maintenance. In addition to that, we are going to be putting out pine mulch around the plants, trees and so on. Of course, the final step to the ground work will be the installation of the paving stones.”
The idea for Gander Heritage Memorial Park came together in 2012 after a group of former students from the town got together for a high school reunion. Out of that reunion came plans to leave behind a legacy of Gander’s first children. There was an agreement to put a monument in place to honour Sgt. Gander, a Newfoundland dog that was killed in the Second World War after bravely risking his life to protect Canadian soldiers. Putting that sculpture in place will be the cherry on top for the new park area, said Hoffe.
“The last thing that will be done, around the early part of September, will be the installation of the two monuments of Sgt. Gander and his handler, Ned Kelley. The sculpter has advised us that he is working on it right now, and it’s well underway. His target date is to finish up toward the end of August, and our target date for placing the monuments up in the park is around Sept.16.”
When completed, the Gander Heritage Memorial Park will serve as an area to host remembrance ceremonies, and for people to come to take in the rich cultural history of Gander.