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LETTER: Shut down Winterton boardwalk, says writer

The town of Winterton should shut down what once was their magnificent boardwalk circling the lake at Outside Pond Park until the major repairs that have started are complete.

Bill Wescott is pictured here, with the Town of Carbonear in the background.

Currently there are two new warning signs nailed to trees. One at each entrance to the wooden walkway advises visitors to, "Use at own risk".

That is simply ridiculous.

Nobody should be shocked into the reality that what lies ahead is approximately one mile of danger in a public park.

My wife and I walked the boardwalk last Sunday and never enjoyed a minute for fear we were going to fall through the rotten spongy boards that nearly gave way with every step we took.

Adding insult to injury, there are added caution markings placed in particularly dangerous areas circled with red spray paint. These warnings obviously remind walkers to be particularly careful of holes in the boards, rotting edges, splitting boards and cracks in the under carriage.

A small number of the rotten boards have already been replaced but that is just useless patchwork in my view.

As the boardwalk meanders through the woods, some of the areas are quite high, requiring the erection of guardrails. Many of them are missing and those that are left are about to give way.

I just don't understand why officials with the responsibility of operating the campground and the magnificent RV Park adjacent to the boardwalk haven't taken action to shut it down.

We have been visiting the Outside Pond Park for years and enjoyed many walks around the lake. Usually we walk the entire distance and then turn around and walk back. Two miles of great exercise in a pristine setting, second to none anywhere in the province.

Last Sunday we walked one way and never walked back. We would be crazy to take that risk again.

As I mentioned, repairs are well underway on the RV Park side of the walkway and this work is very impressive, although I think pressure treated lumber should have been used.

It will be a long, hard and costly job to bring the Winterton boardwalk back to what it used to be. Hopefully the funds will be available to complete it. 

Until then I think the town of Winterton, for their sake and for the safety of the general public at large, should shut it down completely until it is made safe for visitors to walk again.

Regretfully we won't be back until that time. In the months ahead though, we will surely miss it.

— Bill Westcott writes from Clarke's Beach

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