In praise of the Car­bon­ear board­walk

The Compass - - OPINION - BY BILL WEST­COTT — Bill West­cott writes from Clarke’s Beach

And in ev­ery step my eyes hold won­der, I bend on my knee to thank mother earth. The sounds of love and peace, It’s a great plea­sure for me, to live in this won­der­land. — An ex­cerpt from a poem by Shweta Ban­er­jee

It’s the 12th of July, one of the most beau­ti­ful days of the sum­mer so far. Un­der blue skies, fluffy white clouds and a pleas­ant tem­per­a­ture of 78 de­grees, I find my­self in a vir­tual won­der­land of pleas­ant sounds, beau­ti­ful scenery and mag­nif­i­cent flora and fauna. I am walk­ing the board­walk in Car­bon­ear. A 360 de­gree wooden de­light con­structed years past by skilled hands.

It is dif­fi­cult to de­scribe the beauty as we stroll leisurely along the well-main­tained cir­cu­lar plat­form con­structed us­ing pres­sure treated lum­ber that cir­cles the lake with its skirt of lily­pads, tall grass, wa­ter lilies, but­ter­cups, dan­de­lions, pussy wil­lows and a vast ar­ray of other green­ery of which I don’t know the names.

In great shape

I am a big fan of board­walks. My wife and I make a point to avail of them when­ever we can. Car­bon­ear is my favourite for a num­ber of rea­sons. It is in great shape. It has the At­lantic ocean on one side and the western hills on the other. Nearby in the his­toric old town holds the fa­mous premises of John Rorke & Sons, one of the many Car­bon­ear mer­chants that made the town what it is to­day, along with the Moores, the Finns, the Saun­ders and How­ells, the Pow­ells and of course at the other end “The Com­pass,” our com­mu­nity (weekly) news­pa­per long cred­ited for re­flect­ing Car­bon­ear and its his­tory to New­found­land and to the pub­lic at large through­out Con­cep­tion and Trin­ity bays.

As we strolled along there were other walk­ers en­joy­ing the af­ter­noon there. One young lady was feed­ing the ducks and a brood of duck­lings. We were cooled by the spray from the wa­ter foun­tain air­borne as the warm west­erly wind ca­ressed our faces.

Where else can one find such tran­quil­ity that’s free for the tak­ing? The res­i­dents of Car­bon­ear and sur­round­ing ar­eas are lucky to have this fa­cil­ity in their midst. The old rusty CNR en­gine sit­ting on the nar­row gage tracks is worth see­ing. Talk about a piece of his­tory one can touch as one strolls along the walk­way. It is both beau­ti­ful to see and sad to touch. A sub­ject for some play­wright to present as a drama in the ad­ja­cent Arts and Cul­ture cen­tre (the Car­bon­ear theatre, it is called). How about a ti­tle like: “The killing of our rail­way — in two acts?” Where is that skilled Donna Butt? At the very least, have your pic­ture taken near it. It is an icon. A sym­bol of a tragic and one might say “ne­glect­ful” past.

Oth­ers need restora­tion

Some of the other pop­u­lar board­walks we fre­quent are not in the fine shape the Car­bon­ear one is. The one in Win­ter­ton (Back­side Park) i.e. is rapidly break­ing down. At­tempts to re­pair it are un­der­way but it will take a lot of money and a long time to re­store it to what it was. I hope the money is pro­vided to keep it up. It is a jewel in a su­perb lo­ca­tion around a lake near the town.

I ob­served the board­walk in Car­bon­ear is con­structed from four-inch width lum­ber as ap­posed to the wider planks used else­where. Per­haps that is why there is no rot to be seen. Wa­ter runs off faster and ob­vi­ously the boards dry out more quickly. It is no­tice­ably well nailed too.

I wish our home­town would find the means — the govern­ment sup­port and the co-oper­a­tion of its res­i­dents — to build a sim­i­lar board­walk around the lake in Clarke’s Beach. What a great ad­di­tion to our com­mu­nity that would make.

Car­bon­ear has been a favourite place of mine to visit since I was a very young lad. As I grow older it still oc­cu­pies a “spe­cial place” in my heart. The board­walk bea­cons and I am quick to re­spond.

It is a jewel in the crown of this his­toric Con­cep­tion Bay North town. Re­mem­ber friends the old adage: use it or lose it.

Thanks Car­bon­ear for the op­por­tu­nity to walk it and to en­joy all the things it of­fers in the way of nat­u­ral beauty.

Viva Car­bon­ear!

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