Perras Park proposal moves forward

by Lucie Roy

A report on the proposal for a park development at the former Perras Place location was brought forward by Community and Protective Services Director David Schaefer for Council direction at the Regular Meeting of Council held Nov. 28.

Schaefer had two requests for Council – bringing the park proposal forward as a potential up to $78,000 2018 capital project and making a determination if such a park should be called Perras Park.

Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe moved to support calling the project Perras Park if it moves forward.

“I think this is good work,” he said of the proposal. “I think it is very respectful to the family. It is respectful to the building that was there before, and I think Raymonde Riopel probably would be quite proud of this work shown here.”

Mayor Barry Turner added that putting the Perras name on that park and that location would help maintain the heritage link to the family and their contributions to this community.

The motion was carried unanimously.

After some discussion on including the park project as a capital item, and concerns from Councillor Scott Richardson on the safety of the type of concrete currently remaining on site, Dafoe moved to bring the project forward as a capital project for public input and Council debate during 2018 Budget deliberations. That budget item would be phased over a two year development period, and look into the concerns of his colleague as part of the process.

Schaefer said the Town worked with a landscape architect to come up with a community garden type layout that mimics the structure of the Perras Place house and the rooms and how the first floor was actually laid out.

In developing the concept for the garden itself, they wanted to see how they could retain as much of the infrastructure that was already on site, and also bring forward something that leaves a legacy not only of Perras Place but provides opportunity for the Town to promote community as a whole.

Ideas include the Incredible Edibles for the gardens, a long walkway that can be used for displays to promote prominent people, past, present and future, and other concepts in the Town’s recently passed historical and cultural policy.

Part of the property will also contain a small structure to house the Town’s emergency generator, currently stored offsite.

The front part of the park, most of it concrete, would be extended to the back of the building. All the building blocks for the garden were retained so they can use it to rebuild the new gardens.

Schaefer said they have not yet shared the concept with the family but prior to the demolition, they did have discussions on what the intention of the space was and Council’s direction at the time. Schaefer has also followed up with members of the Historical Society who he said are supportive of the idea.

Should Council move forward with it, Scaefer said the family would be invited to the dedication of the park.

Turner added that due to the high profile nature of the building and its demolition I do appreciate the opportunity to highlight the project and show what may be coming if it does go ahead. “I appreciate the opportunity to present the concept in this setting,” he said.

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