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Hurricane Damage Forces Point Pleasant Park to Remain Closed Until June 2004
(Thursday, November 27, 2003)-- Mayor Peter Kelly today announced that Point Pleasant Park will remain closed to the public until June 2004 at the earliest. The prolonged closure is necessary to allow for extensive and detailed remedial measures to be carried out during the winter and spring months.
"Point Pleasant was by far the hardest hit of our 1,200 parks, green spaces, forests, trails and playgrounds," Mayor Kelly said. "The damage is heartbreaking with up to 70 per cent of the trees in the park downed by the fury of Hurricane Juan."
As the first part of the recovery effort, a team of experts in a variety of fields has been helping HRM staff evaluate the damage and formulate a plan to clean-up the damage without causing further harm to the park. Forestry experts, soil experts, insect and disease experts, fire threat assessors and cultural and historic advisors have been part of this process.
"There is a tremendous volume of trees that have to be cut and cleared. This is not simply a job of sending in crews with chainsaws and harvesting equipment. The clean-up must be done in a way so as to save the remaining trees, protect the historic and cultural sites and minimize the impact on the park's soils and other ecosystems. We're going to make sure the job is done right," Mayor Kelly said.
In early December HRM will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for those with the necessary skills and equipment to bid on the clean-up. The activities of successful bidders will be guided and controlled by conditions and terms laid out in the RFP, as recommended by the internal and external experts involved in the evaluation stage.
"It is too soon to put a price tag on the clean-up effort," Chief Administrative Officer George McLellan said. "We know it will be expensive, but we are also hopeful that these costs, as a direct result of Hurricane Juan, will be covered by disaster assistance funding from the Province and the Federal government."
Councillor Sue Uteck (District 13-Northwest Arm/South End) thanked the community for its patience with the closure of Point Pleasant Park to date, and for its understanding of the need for it to remain closed for several more months.
"While residents in my District and throughout HRM have been anxious for the park to re-open, most residents I have spoken with understand that we have to proceed with care. Point Pleasant Park is the jewel in the crown of HRM's parks network and we must ensure its health for generations to come," Councillor Uteck said.
Mayor Kelly and Councillor Uteck also thanked residents and others from outside the community for the ongoing generosity expressed through a steady stream of donations to help the park recovery efforts. That money will be set aside to assist in revitalizing the park after the clean-up is complete, they said.
Once the recovery effort is underway, HRM will begin a public planning process for the long term restoration of the park.
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For further information, contact:
Mayor Peter Kelly
Councillor Sue Uteck
George McLellan, CAO