© Guardian photo
Jamie Fox, left, and Dennis Hopping, members of the Scales Pond Restoration Capital Fundraising Campaign.
SOUTH FREETOWN — Scales Pond is all set for its grand reintroduction to Islanders later this spring or early summer.
A small, but dedicated group of volunteers has spent all winter working on various aspects of the community park’s restoration and have finally declared mission accomplished.
Everyone involved in the project is very proud of what they’ve accomplished, said George Webster, a member of the restoration committee.
“The project turned out fantastic,” said Webster. “There was a tremendous amount of volunteers put hours and hours and hours into many pieces of the project.”
People like John Phillips.
Phillips, project manager for the restoration, has been involved in the restoration efforts since it started, and he’s excited to show off the accomplishment.
“Oh jeez, it feels wonderful,” he said. “At this time last year we still had about $115,000 left to raise — I didn’t think we’d ever raise it. But . . . all you have to do is tell people ‘we’re going ahead,’ and that’s it (they’re on board), “ he said.
Phillips said the restoration committee is aiming to have a grand reopening sometime in June, though no official date has been set yet. He said the Scales Pond restoration project has been a huge success story for a small community and it’s an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated.
“It’s awesome! I can hardly wait. I can hardly wait to show people what their money has done,” he said.
Phillips is quite proud of the fact that the restoration has come in about $200 under budget.
In the meantime, he added, many people have already begun to revisit the park, snowshoeing and skiing through the new trail system.
It’s been a while since the park has seen many visitors.
Scales Pond was severely damaged in 2009 when a washout destroyed the dam, berm and eventually caused the whole pond to almost disappear.
However, thanks to the volunteers and an investment of more than $600,000 from private and public sources, the dam and berm have been rebuilt and the surrounding grounds have been improved.
Special attention has been paid to the new water management system, said Webster, so another washout can be avoided.
“It should be good, solid, infrastructure for 100 years. It’s a much more stable structure now and should withstand the test of time.”
Some of the new features include walking trails through the woods and around the pond, gazebos, a picnic area, a wheelchair accessible fishing platform, interpretive panels, lighting and better signage to lead people to the park.
The Native Council of P.E.I. and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. also have plans to showcase some programing on the grounds, including the building of a wigwam on the trail network.
A public announcement will be made when a grand reopening date has been set.