Gables im­prove­ments

Next stage of work at his­toric site in­cludes new vis­i­tor cen­tre and ex­panded park­ing lot

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART

The sec­ond phase of con­struc­tion at the his­toric Green Gables site will in­clude a new vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre and an ex­panded park­ing lot.

Con­struc­tion on a new vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre and an ex­panded park­ing lot will be­gin soon at the his­toric Green Gables site.

It’s all part of a four-year, $9.4-mil­lion facelift for the site that be­gan in July 2015. Chantelle Mac­Don­ald, project co-or­di­na­tor with Parks Canada, said the sec­ond phase is next with con­struc­tion of the new vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre, which will in­clude a new gift shop, tick­et­ing, wash­rooms and a large ex­hibit area.

It will also in­volve land­scap­ing around the build­ing and ex­tra park­ing.

“We def­i­nitely need ex­tra park­ing,” Mac­Don­ald said. “We weren’t able to keep up with the de­mand this year, so we are ex­pand­ing the park­ing lot. There will be an op­por­tu­nity in the ex­panded park­ing lot to get that view to the (Green Gables) house that we were talk­ing about last year.” Last year, Parks Canada raised safety con­cerns with the cur­rent en­trance to the site where peo­ple of­ten stopped to pho­to­graph the iconic Green Gables house.

“What we’ve done with the de­sign of the new vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre build­ing is move that (pic­ture) ex­pe­ri­ence to the pedes­trian (area) so when they walk out of this new vis­i­tor cen­tre build­ing, they will have that iconic view of the house.”

The ten­der for Phase 2 of the project was re­cently awarded by Pub­lic Ser­vice and Pro­cure­ment Canada to Is­land con­trac­tor Wil­liams Mur­phy Ma­cLeod. Work will be­gin soon with a sched­uled com­ple­tion date of Sept. 30, 2018.

The first phase in­volved the de­con­struc­tion of the vis­i­tor in­for­ma­tion cen­tre and the gift shop and an ad­di­tion to the barn. The barn space was needed to cre­ate a new tem­po­rary space for the gift shop. Ren­o­va­tions also took place inside the barn theatre, which will even­tu­ally be­come a mul­ti­pur­pose space.

A third project phase will in­volve some ac­ces­si­bil­ity ren­o­va­tions in some of the other build­ings on site as well as retrofitting the space where the gift shop is cur­rently. That will be­come a food ser­vice area.

The en­tire project is slated to wrap up by June 2019. Mac­Don­ald said they’re also work­ing on new ex­hibits for the vis­i­tor cen­tre but that’s still in the con­cep­tual stage.

THE GUARDIAN FILE PHOTO

Chantelle Mac­Don­ald, project co-or­di­na­tor with Parks Canada, and Arnold Smith, for­mer tourist op­er­a­tor in Cavendish, dis­cuss changes com­ing to Green Gables Her­itage Site in Cavendish.

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