The sound of pounding hammers mixed with the noise of waves crashing on the beach filled the air at Myrick Shore Monday evening as a group of volunteers made temporary repairs to the area’s boardwalk.
The boardwalk, part of the Fishermen’s Haven Park in the community of Tignish Shore, was closed in the spring by the local council for safety reasons. The structure is over 20 years old, was built using soft green wood and has been deteriorating for years.
A group concerned with the closure of the boardwalk was given permission by the community to make the repairs so the boardwalk could reopen. The repairs are a temporary measure until plans to replace the structure can be made.
Russell Gallant, who grew up in Tignish Shore and is now a summer resident in the community, organized the repair work on Monday by putting out a call on social media.
“Tonight, is a volunteer effort,” he said. “We didn’t get any funding for this. The material was provided by people who are interested and all the labour is free.”
The approximately 30 volunteers who came out on Aug. 19 were busy ripping up rotten boards and hammering in new ones. About 140 boards were replaced.
“I did a walk through and identified the boards that were a safety issue,” said Mr Gallant. “The frame is not bad and it will last a couple of years until we get it replaced.”
The goal is to breathe new life into the Myrick Shore boardwalk by setting up a non-profit corporation who would take over the care and maintenance of the Fishermen’s Haven Park from the community, who, for now, still owns the property.
“There’s fewer and fewer residents living here now and they’re getting older and it’s a big responsibility,” said Mr Gallant about caring for the park.
He added for the last couple of summers the maintenance of the park, which includes the boardwalk and the nearby lighthouse, has been a financial burden on the community and Tignish Shore simply doesn’t have the funds to upgrade the boardwalk themselves.
“A couple of us who are summer residents and some other people who are interested in the boardwalk and the park, we asked the community if they would consider leasing us the facility and we would take over the maintenance and the expansion and the repairs for them,” explained Mr Gallant.
Mr Gallant said that group of people want to create a non-profit corporation with a membership base, similar to the West Point Development Corporation.
For now, the hope is the temporary repairs on Monday were do for the rest of the year, and probably next summer, in order to give the group time to plan, design and seek funding to get a new boardwalk. There’s also a desire to expand the boardwalk and make repairs to the park’s lighthouse.
Mr Gallant said the boardwalk a popular spot for many.
“When we sit at our cottage in the evening, it’s a steady flow of people,” he said. “In the morning, we get, 20, 30 seniors at one time coming from Tignish and this is their walk area. This is their recreational area because there’s always a fresh breeze here. You hear the ocean. You have nature by your side. It’s fantastic.”
Stephanie Kinch and her eight-year-old daughter Lily were among the volunteers helping out on Monday. They summer in the community every year and use the boardwalk often.
“I think it’s great,” said Ms Kinch of the turnout. “I didn’t expect this many people because a lot of them are not from the area, but people from all over use this boardwalk too. It’s not just the residents.”
Mr Gallant said their non-profit group should be established by the fall and once that is done, the community will sign over the property to them.
And he too is encouraged by the number of volunteers who showed up on Monday to pitch in and make the repairs.
“I’m sure by the fall we will have 100 members for our corporation,” he said.