Boardwalk empire: Gander gets $550K for Cobb's Pond walking trail
The Town of Gander is receiving more than half a million dollars from the federal government to upgrade Cobb's Pond Rotary Park.
A total of $552,676 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency will go towards upgrading the park's walking trail.
"Anytime you can get money, it's always a great day," says Mayor Claude Elliott.
"It's going to be accessible, you're going to be able to go around in wheelchairs."
We've never done a head count, but I can tell you there's thousands of people that go through Cobb's Pond.- Claude Elliott
The town applied for the funds to upgrade the park. Elliott said the money came in two separate batches.
Phase one of the Cobb's Pond project saw $4.5 million recently spent upgrading the park's recreational area, theatre area and parking lot between 2012 and 2014 in the first phase.
The money for the upgrades to the walking trail came in as part of the second phase.
In addition, the Town of Gander and the Rotary Club of Gander are also contributing to this second phase of the project. Elliott said combined with the federal money, there will be about a million dollars to complete the trail.
The finished trail will be mostly made up of boardwalk measuring more than two metres wide.
'Certainly a good investment'
According to numbers provided by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Gander is a service centre for 81,000 people in 125 smaller communities.
Elliott said while there's no specific numbers for park usage, it's a popular destination.
"We've never done a head count, but I can tell you there's thousands of people that go through Cobb's Pond," he said.
Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms said the federal money is a reasonable investment.
"Sometimes you get people saying is that really a waste of money? Do we build these things and nobody uses it?" said Simms.
"The usage of Cobb's Pond will tell you it certainly is a good investment for us."
Meanwhile, Elliott said there's a possibility of more work on the horizon, but nothing is for certain.
"You never know, we may be back looking for phase three."