$24-mil­lion facelift

One of the big­gest projects in the Na­tional Park is the re­pair and widen­ing of the Cove­head Bridge

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT THE GUARDIAN twright@the­guardian Twit­ter.com/GuardianTeresa

Road­ways, camp­grounds and build­ings owned by Parks Canada in Prince Ed­ward Is­land are get­ting a $24-mil­lion facelift over the next year, thanks to an in­fu­sion of fed­eral cash.

One of the big­gest projects is in the Na­tional Park, where the Cove­head Bridge will be re­paired and widened by three me­tres to in­clude a side­walk on both sides of the bridge for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists. The roads in the Na­tional Park will also un­dergo a ma­jor resur­fac­ing, and wa­ter and waste­water sys­tems will be im­proved. These in­fra­struc­ture projects ac­count for more than $16 mil­lion of the fund­ing an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

Bill Court­ney, as­set man­ager with Parks Canada, says the bridge will be closed from Oc­to­ber of this year to mid-April of 2016 to ac­com­mo­date the con­struc­tion.

“It will be open for use next lob­ster sea­son, next sum­mer and fall, but for a short pe­riod of time we’re go­ing to give the con­trac­tor full ac­cess to the bridge to ex­pe­dite the work.”

The Stan­hope and Cavendish camp­grounds will also see mil­lions in up­grades, in­clud­ing re­newed kitchen shel­ters, re­cep­tion ar­eas and greater ac­ces­si­bil­ity for users with dis­abil­i­ties.

Greg Shaw, the Parks Canada pro­ject man­ager over­see­ing most of these projects, says much of this work is long over­due.

“The Cavendish camp­ground was con­structed in the 1960s, so it’s in real need of some up­grades,” he said.

“Some of those sites are re­ally small now, peo­ple can’t even get their car on the sites in some of them, so we’ll be mak­ing those big­ger.”

For those who want to try camp­ing but don’t en­joy rough­ing it, Stan­hope camp­ground will soon house six to eight new oTen­tiks.

These can­vass cab­ins of­fer a lux­ury camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, com­plete with beds, heaters, a ta­ble and dishes as well as a deck and a bar­beque.

“It’s al­most like ‘glamp­ing,’” Shaw said.

“Ba­si­cally all you have to do is come with your sleep­ing bag and ev­ery­thing else is pro­vided.”

Im­prove­ments will also be made to the Green Gables site in Cavendish as well as to the Portla-Joye—Fort Amherst na­tional his­toric site.

Ten­ders for all these projects are go­ing out im­me­di­ately and work will be­gin as soon as pos­si­ble. All up­grades and im­prove­ments are ex­pected to be com­pleted over the next year.

The P.E.I. Na­tional Park wel­comes ap­prox­i­mately 400,000 visi­tors ev­ery year.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Karen Jans of Parks Canada Prince Ed­ward Is­land shows the beauty of the Na­tional Park in Cove­head. The Na­tional Park is get­ting a $24-mil­lion facelift over the next year.

NIGEL ARMSTRONG/THE GUARDIAN

Call it ‘glamp­ing’, Stan­hope camp­ground will soon house six to eight of these new oTen­tiks. These can­vass cab­ins of­fer a lux­ury camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, com­plete with beds, heaters, a ta­ble and dishes as well as a deck and a bar­beque.

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