The Pictou and Area Lions Club is going to give their Quarry Park proposal one more try.
The group has been working to gauge interest in developing the old quarry pond area off Brown’s Point Road into an accessible public park. They have the support of a large number of community residents, but do not have town council’s seal of approval.
Lion Shawn McNamara, who is leading the Lions’ charge for the project — which would be a centennial project for the Lions club — says he understands council is concerned about public safety and liability, but he assures that the Lions club has all of the necessary insurance.
“What’s particularly bothersome is that we’re being told town council will not support it, their minds are made up; but we’ve not heard from or met with other members of council,” he said. “In fact, when we held our open house in August, at least one town councillor attended and expressed support for the project.”
King Lion Peter Boyles agreed. “We only ever got to talk to the mayor and CAO. We never got to talk to any of the councillors.”
The Lions Club will hold one more meeting to determine the public’s wishes. It will take place today, Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the Pictou New Horizons building on Kempt Street, at 7 p.m.
“We want people to attend and show their support, or tell us why they don’t support it,” McNamara said. “And if they don’t support it, tell us why.
“And if council tells us why they won’t support it, then at least the people will understand.”
McNamara continued, “And if we don’t have the support we’ll say it’s a done deal. But we want to exhaust all avenues before we have to pull the plug. And we want council representation at this meeting.”
The Lions said they have mentioned the park proposal to the other Lions clubs in the area and those members have offered to support it.
Support has also come from local businesses, organizations and individuals who have pledged financial help or labour or assistance in other areas.
If the park proposal does not go ahead, the Lions say the club will still hold the annual fishing derby at the quarry pond. But a park, they say, will benefit the entire community and could bring business into town with park visitors.
The space is approximately 20 acres with a spring-fed pond. There is ample parking, plenty of greenery and they see lots of potential for the area.
The Lions are willing to negotiate with the town for the space, but they will not compromise on the town’s proposed 90-day lease agreement. Basically, this agreement means that either party — the town or the Lions Club — can give notice to end the lease agreement with 90 days of notice. The town owns the property. The Lions Club wants to lease it for 10 years and develop it for the community.
Boyles said the Lions Club would not be able to secure grants or funding to develop the park if the 90-day lease agreement is in place.
“We were originally told that if we could get the public support we were good to go ahead. Well, we got the support.”
To show your support for the proposed project, plan to attend the meeting tonight at New Horizons.