Mayor wins brief reprieve for Bannerman bandstand
The mayor of St. John's has a week to persuade councillors that a bandstand facing demolition in the city's oldest park is worth preserving.
Dennis O'Keefe won a brief reprieve on Tuesday evening for the Bannerman Park bandstand, which is poised to be torn down to make way for a new pavilion.
"Why destroy it if there's no need to destroy it?" O'Keefe told CBC News.
Council deferred a decision on the facelift for Bannerman Park until its meeting next week. O'Keefe said it is important that all councillors be briefed on the details of the changes.
The bandstand was built in 1940, and while some people have complained that the structure — which has not been used for musical performances for decades — is an eyesore, O'Keefe insists the bandstand is worth saving because it is the oldest structure in the park.
While a master plan for refurbishing Bannerman Park dates back to 2003, O'Keefe did not publicly raise his concerns about the bandstand until just before council was being asked to approve a refurbishment plan that is already underway.
Earlier this year, the charitable Bannerman Park Foundation unveiled a new fountain and a "garden of memories" along the Rennie's Mill Road entrance.
The full plan - which carries a price tag of $6 million, half paid by a fundraising campaign with the city matching the rest - calls for a Victorian-style pavilion at the site of the bandstand, as well as a skating trail. The plan also calls for upgrades throughout the park, including a new playground for children.
"Each of the projects involved in the plan would have to have approval of council, so it's good for the full council to have a particular briefing before we actually vote on it," O'Keefe said.
Councillors will be briefed on the park renewal plan next Monday.