Big changes coming to Stanley Bridge Centre building this summer

By Jim Brown

By this summer visitors returning to the popular Stanley Bridge Centre, home of successful farmers markets, history circles and concerts, will see some big changes.

For one thing, the port-a-potty at the back of the building will be gone and a leaky roof fixed.

As much as $35,000 will be spent making necessary improvements, which should make it easier for food vendors to set up.

“We’re going to do a renovation that will expand our entrance, give us washrooms, give us a kitchen, and completely do the roof (including the steeple),” said Don Reid, a member of the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society’s board of directors.

The work includes a ramp to improve access for people with disabilities.

Mr Reid hopes to have the project started sometime in mid to late March and finished in time for the busy tourist season.
“Right now I have two, possibly three vendors who are interested in renting the centre from us.”

The board has even bigger plans for the future, which would require more than $400,000 to completely renovate the building, including putting in a new foundation.

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Storm toppled trees in PEI National Park could pose fire risk in Cavendish

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Is it possible massive numbers of fallen and uprooted trees in the PEI National Park, in Cavendish, could set the area ablaze during the summer season?

According to members of the Resort Municipality’s planning board the PEI National Park could face the same fate as much of California, which endured record-breaking wildfires in November.

Dislodged trees are everywhere following a fierce wind and snow storm recently that plunged much of the Island into darkness for days.

“They’re down everywhere, all the way out from Green Gables to Rainbow Valley,” said CAO Brenda MacDonald.

“It’s a complete mess…It’s terrible out there.”

Parks Canada’s representative on the planning board, Barbara MacDonald, said Parks Canada would investigate those concerns and take remedial action if it was necessary.

Brenda MacDonald said she had to called the Department of Transportation during the storm to remove trees that had fallen across and blocked Highway 6.

Once fallen trees dry out someone walking along on a hot day, flicking a cigarette butt into the woods, could start a devastating fire, said a board member.

Planning Board Chair George Clark-Dunning echoed President Donald Trump’s quote about how the Finns protect their forests from fires by “raking” the underbrush.

“It started a whole cavalcade of (humorous) tweets,” he said of Trump’s misstatement.

“We’ve had at least 15 complaints from property owners since last week saying what is Parks (Canada) doing about this mess, and businesses as well,” said Brenda MacDonald, adding Council would be addressing those concerns at the Dec 10 meeting.

“Spruce trees don’t send down a deep root system, they run across the ground. When it’s wet and windy they wobble. When they’re planted together as thickly as that they’re tall and spindly (and go down),” said board member Arnold Smith, adding it doesn’t take long for them to rot and dry out.

Even before the storm trees were dangling over the boardwalk, ready to fall over, said Brenda MacDonald.

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Huddling together at the gas station

Nearly everyone on the Island lost their power on Thursday, Nov 29, with Stanley Bridge residents finally getting their lights back on at 6:20 pm. Shortly after 8 am, the Race Trak gas station at the Stanley Bridge roundabout was filled with customers and passersby. Many had lost their power earlier that morning, and then rejoiced when it came back on, only to be cruelly disappointed when everything went black again, this time for more than nine hours.


Photos by Jim Brown

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Stanley Bridge area packed with fun events weekend of Aug 24-26

Story and photos by Jim Brown
It turned out to be double the fun for local residents and visitors this weekend in Stanley Bridge under sunny, cloudless skies. The River Days Festival ran Friday to Sunday and the 50th anniversary bash of the New London Fire Company was held Saturday, drawing large crowds of children, their parents and friends and family members of volunteer firefighters, past and present. It was a weekend that will not soon be forgotten.

At the Stanley Bridge Centre Saturday youngsters learned how to paint sunflowers in an outdoor tent setting, while the bridge at the Stanley Bridge wharf was a magnet for daredevils of all ages, bravely diving dozens of feet into the water.

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New London Fire Company holds memorial service

The 50th anniversary of the New London Fire Company was celebrated Saturday, Aug 25 and a big part of the day’s impressive slate of events was a memorial service honoring members who had passed away during the fire company’s five decades in the community. The memorial service included a bell ceremony, the laying of evergreen, the Fireman’s Prayer read by Bill Pidgeon, the roll call of honor led by New London Fire Chief Allen Cole, and remarks from PEI Lieutenant Governor Antoinette Perry, Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter, and provincial MLAs Matthew MacKay and Brad Trivers. Juliana Elsinga sang the national anthem.
Story and photos by Jim Brown

Sheila MacMurdo and her daughter Caedyn were two of the attendees at the Aug 25 memorial service, who have several friends in the New London Fire Company.

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Parading the boats on River Days

Hundreds of people assembled at the Stanley Bridge wharf the evening of Aug 25 for what many consider one of the marquee events of the River Days Festival – the parade of boats. More than a dozen illuminated vessels passed under the bridge at the Stanley Bridge wharf and then glided back in the gathering darkness to loud cheers. Fireworks lit up the sky shortly after 9 pm.

Photos by Jim Brown

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