I am very pleased with the news that the City of St. John's and the provincial government are going to finally pay some attention to historic Victoria Park.
For a number of years, when I lived in the West End of the City, I was a member of the Executive of The Friends of Victoria Park and remain a supporter. The organization was established in the aftermath of the city's ridiculous decision to fill int the swimming pool. The organization worked with the city to enhance programing, infrastructure and security in the 124-year-old, seven acre park. We felt the potential of this vibrant park was not being met.
As a resident of Patrick and Alexander Streets, my family and I spent many hours walking around the park, playing in the park and even sliding there in the Winter. It was our second back yard! However, we felt there was a need to prevent the deterioration of the park bringing people back to it.
One of the projects that began when I was on the executive was the Lantern Festival which has grown each year. The festival provided an opportunity to highlight the fact that a natural treasure, Bennettt's Brook and it's cascades were buried. The organizers of the festival began the is a public project. Victoria Park is the canvas for the festival, and the festival highlights the annual daylighting of buried Bennett’s Brook with a river of glass jar lanterns which are lite on the night of the festival.
Mayor Dennis O'Keefe has even alluded to re-opening Bennett's Creek which was covered over in the 1950's, a goal that the FOVP have been advocating for over the past two decades.
No doubt there will be some controversy over the how best to re-develop and enhance the park. I encourage everyone with an interest to participate in any planning sessions.