‘We will do it’

Dildo and area highly sup­port­ive of new play­ground project


An am­bi­tious ef­fort by a ded­i­cated group of civic-minded in­di­vid­u­als to con­struct a new play­ground in the heart of the community of Dildo is re­ceiv­ing un­con­di­tional sup­port.

In less than a year, mem­bers of the newly formed Dildo Re­cre­ation Com­mit­tee have ac­quired the per­fect plot of land, raised more than $40,000 — ex­actly half their tar­get­ted amount — and ig­nited a sense of spirit and en­thu­si­asm in the community that is clearly vis­i­ble each time the com­mit­tee stages a fundrais­ing event.

It all started last sum­mer with a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween young moth­ers Angie Reid, Denise Legge and Natasha Trainor.

They all felt there was a need for a play­ground in the cen­tre of this community of roughly 800 res­i­dents, lo­cated in Trin­ity Bay, some 19 kilo­me­tres from Whit­bourne and some 38 kilo­me­tres from Car­bon­ear.

With as­sis­tance from Belle­vue MHA Calvin Peach, they called a pub­lic meet­ing in Septem­ber 2011 that at­tracted more than two dozen peo­ple, and the idea has been gain­ing mo­men­tum ever since.

With a core group of roughly 20 mem­bers — mostly young moth­ers in­tent on en­sur­ing their chil­dren have a safe and fun place to play — the com­mit­tee has been stag­ing reg­u­lar fundrais­ing events, in­clud­ing a first-ever Fall Har­vest Fes­ti­val ear­lier this month that at­tracted some 300 peo­ple and gen­er­ated a cool $3,000 in clear profit.

The fes­ti­val was given rave re­views, and was high­lighted by a com­pe­ti­tion for the best home­made jams and pies.

A haunted hike was also sched­uled for this past week­end, adding to a long list of pre­vi­ous events that in­cluded a gar­den party, chil­drens’ dance, casino night, silent auc­tion, community break­fast, sports day, ticket draws, movie nights, yard sales and much, much more.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple have sup­ported ev­ery event, dis­play­ing a level of gen­eros­ity that has in­spired the com­mit­tee to work even harder.

The com­mit­tee now hopes to raise all the nec­es­sary funds by this spring, and though some say it’s too am­bi­tious, Angie hopes to cut a rib­bon on the new play­ground dur­ing the sum­mer or fall of 2013.

“We feel like we’re do­ing some­thing re­ally, re­ally great for the community,” said Angie, who chairs the re­cre­ation com­mit­tee.

Sig­nif­i­cant do­na­tion

Dur­ing a con­ver­sa­tion at the play­ground site last week, the en­ergy ra­di­at­ing from Angie and Denise was un­mis­tak­able as they raved about the sup­port their ef­forts have gar­nered.

They are es­pe­cially proud and grate­ful for the very sig­nif­i­cant do­na­tion made by the fam­ily of the late Bill Pretty. Pretty’s widow, Cis­ley, read­ily agreed to do­nate land to the project, lo­cated at the cor­ner of the main road and Pretty’s Lane. An­other res­i­dent, Sam Pretty, also do­nated a strip of land.

“We all looked at this par­cel and said ‘wouldn’t that be beau­ti­ful.’ Cis­ley thought it was a won­der­ful idea and she was over­whelmed. Her fam­ily also felt there was noth­ing bet­ter they could do with this land,” Angie said.

The com­mit­tee has al­ready spent some $15,000 to pur­chase hun­dreds of dump truck loads of fill.

Fos­tered community pride

Com­mit­tee mem­bers feel the es­tab­lish­ment of a re­cre­ation com­mit­tee and plans to build a play­ground have helped bol­ster the town’s spirit and pride. Some older cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing many life­long vol­un­teers and community boost­ers, have of­fered tremen­dous en­cour­age­ment, said Denise.

They both agree that win­ning the sup­port of area res­i­dents is “our big­gest ac­com­plish­ment to date.”

“We are very proud, and the peo­ple are proud of us,” Denise noted. “We’ve gone from zero bud­get to $40,000 in less than a year.

“We will do it. We will def­i­nitely put a play­ground here.”

More than a name

The community has re­ceived world­wide no­to­ri­ety for its name, and there have been ef­forts over the years to change it. But it’s also helped at­tract vis­i­tors to the tourism is now se­ri­ous busi­ness.

The re­cre­ation com­mit­tee be­lieves a mod­ern new play­ground will only in­crease the ap­peal for vis­i­tors, and strengthen the fi­bre of what is al­ready an ac­tive, car­ing community.

“I think a community is what you make it. And that’s our plan. To make it a great place for kids, and a wel­com­ing place for tourism,”

area, and said Angie.

They are also clear on an­other thing: the play­ground is only a start.

“The sky is the limit. There have been some fan­tas­tic ideas talked about, and if we think we can do it and we think there’s a need, we will do it,” said Angie.


Photo by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

This is the fu­ture site of the Bill Pretty Memo­rial Play­ground in Dildo. The site is lo­cated in the heart of the community, and the land was do­nated by Bill Pretty’s wife, Cis­ley.

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