September 26, 2020

Recreation area set for Old Man Bay

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Ezzard Miller

This is his first commercial job, but North Side’s US-trained architect Marco Whittaker is pleased to aid his community by designing the 60,720 sq foot, as-yet-unnamed “North Side Enhancement”.

Mr Whittaker, 28, long ago of Chalmers Gibbs and with an associate degree in architecture from Rhode Island College, said the proposed North Side waterfront park was “just something we talked about for a while, and we decided just to go ahead.

“We did some town hall meetings and asked people what they thought, and they all seemed to support it, and afterwards we did some drawings,” he said.

The proposed recreation area, at Old Man Bay Dock, but as yet without a proper name, is 660 feet long and 92 feet wide, about an acre-and-a-third, and will incorporate two 70-foot pedestrian jetties, shade areas, covered sitting areas, cabanas, restrooms and a volleyball court.

A new parking lot will be built, he said, with spaces for 12 boat trailers that can head straight into the water, and another 12 for family vehicles.

“At the moment, everyone parks near the launch ramp, sometimes blocking traffic, so this will help that,” Mr Whittaker said.

“We just haven’t figured out where to put the play area for kids. It will have a jungle gym in an enclosed area to keep the kids safe,” he said.

While seeking formal planning permission, the community group, led by North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, hopes to start initial work in November, gaining a go-ahead from some of the private-property owners, both next door and across the street from the area.

“The land just to the west is crown land, but to the east, where we want to put four cabanas, is privately owned, so we will ask them.  We have drafted a letter to the owner and to the person across the road. We’ll clean up the area and put in a gazebo, so it will raise the value of everyone’s land, benefiting the entire community”, he said.

The project will require between 12 months and 18 months to complete, and while Mr Whittaker was unable to pinpoint costs, he said, “so far we have estimated, very roughly, something like $500,000.

“We’ll ask the government for help, and hope the rest can be provided through private funding. Well do some fundraising in the community,” Mr Whittaker said.

The proposed site at Old Man Bay

“Labour will be provided from the neighbourhood, North Side and Frank Sound,” he said and “as a lot of people are still looking for jobs, we are trying to keep it within the community, giving them a little work and maybe they can make a little money.”

Mr Whittaker himself continues to seek full-time work, having been back in North Side for nearly two years after gaining his degree.

“I’ve done a few little housing projects for people, but this is the first thing I’ve done on my own,” he said, “but right now I’m still looking for work.”

 

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