Nfld. & Labrador

'A labour of love:' Birch Island Boardwalk completed after 4 years of construction

The first board of the Birch Island Boardwalk in Happy Valley-Goose Bay was placed in 2015. The final boards were screwed down on Wednesday.

The first board was placed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in 2015

Workers screwed down the final boards of the boardwalk Wednesday, completing the six-kilometre walkway. (Tyler Mugford/CBC)

After four years of construction, the six-kilometre Birch Island Boardwalk in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is complete.

Workers screwed down the final boards on Wednesday, finishing the walkway.

"It's been a longtime dream for us. We laid down the first piece of lumber in 2015, and yeah, it's been a labour of love," said Marina Biasutti-Brown, executive director of Healthy Waters Labrador.

She said it's going to be bittersweet to move on.

"We're just so happy that we can finally say the boardwalk is done, but I'm going to miss the guys on the boardwalk. Their dedication has been amazing — they were out here in high winds, rain, and now at the end of the season, they've been dealing with ice and snow conditions."

After four years of construction — and all sorts of weather conditions — the workers laying down the boardwalk have a good reason to be smiling. (Submitted)

Through the years, Biasutti-Brown said people frequently asked her when they would be able to walk the length of the boardwalk, and she's been looking forward to saying the walkway is finished for a long time.

"You can come and walk the entire boardwalk now without having to excuse yourself around carpenters or risk your safety balancing on joists, stringers and so on," she said.

Although the construction has finished, there's still work to be done.

"There's still a lot left to do — things like the historic interpretation recognizing the community that was once here, doing more work on the archeological site — and there are some more areas left to clean up, so that's still all going to be in the works," Biasutti-Brown said.

She said the archeological sites that have been identified but haven't been investigated by the Labrador Institute around the Birch Island area can help people learn about Labrador history.

"We're hoping to pick some of the more interesting sites, especially the ones closer to the boardwalk, to interpret to people so that people can learn more about the history of their community or tourists coming in, can learn more about Labrador history."

After four years of construction, the final board of the Birch Island Boardwalk was installed on Wednesday. (Rebecca Martel/CBC)

Biasutti-Brown said it's amazing to see just how much the boardwalk is appreciated already in the community.  

"The community has taken ownership and they're just so happy about it and that's what makes it wonderful for us too."

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