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Old boardwalk given new life in Western Bay

Chloe Slade shows off her addition to the Western Bay Lighthouse Trail.
Chloe Slade shows off her addition to the Western Bay Lighthouse Trail.

WESTERN BAY, NL — The Western Bay Lighthouse Trails committee is working hard to give new life to a once decaying boardwalk.

Some of the old boards on the boardwalk were beginning to rot away, creating a dangerous walk for some residents.

The boardwalk in question provides residents with a solid kilometre-long walk. That is, if they know where not to step.

The four-person committee has taken it upon themselves to not only fix the boardwalk, but give it a whole new appearance, with the help of both residents and people from all over the province.

Shirley-Ann Bartlett, alongside Cathy Whalen, Charis Cotter, Brendan Follett, and Tom Whalen, has been hard at work organizing and taking part in the community project, which has, as of this month, received somewhere between 300-350 painted boards.

“A lot of residents, as well as visitors, use this boardwalk, sometimes on a regular basis,” said Bartlett. “Some of the boards were rotted away, and it was getting a bit dangerous in some places. We decided we’d like to see it repaired, and when the idea of painting boards was brought to us, we were all on board right away.”

There's a lot of variety in the painted boards submitted thus far to the Western Bay Lighthouse Trails committee.

The boardwalk itself started as a project under the North Shore Regional Development Association. Since that association no longer exists, the boardwalk never made it all the way to the community’s lighthouse, as was the original plan.

Through fundraising, the committee hopes to not only raise enough money for repairs, but also see the boardwalk built to fulfill the original vision.

“To raise money, we sell boards, and people can paint pictures, write words or quotes, and some people use them as a memorial for a loved one, or even to advertise a business,” Bartlett explained. “Whatever they want, really, and the community has responded really well to this. So many people are showing interest – we have people from all around Canada, and even some from places like New York, who have visited over the summer, and they’ve also contributed to the boardwalk. I think that’s a great thing.”

Now, the newly painted boards, created by residents and visitors alike, provide the boardwalk with a fresh, safer look and feel.

The boards provided to the painters are pressure treated in hopes of lasting longer than the boards that are being replaced.

Alongside the boardwalk repairs and construction, the committee has dedicated its time to carrying out clean ups in the community, in places such as a popular bonfire spot along the Bradley’s Cove trail. Bartlett said that area has become something of an eyesore for the community.

“Overall, we’ve started putting in a lot of work, but it needed to be done, and we’re more than happy to do the work,” said Bartlett. “We love our community, and I think it’ll really make a big difference in the long run.”

The boards that have been collected thus far are scattered throughout the boardwalk, replacing some of the most rotten boards along the trail. Bartlett said she hoped this would not only make the walk safer for residents, but also give them something to look forward to as they make their way through the trail.

Although it would still take many more, the committee would like to see the entire trail decorated with painted boards.

“It’s a fun project, to say the least. Even if we only get a few more boards, it’s still, in my opinion, given a whole new life to the old boardwalk,” said Bartlett.

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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