People gather, share stories at Scales Pond tree planting ceremony
© Ryan Cooke/Journal Pioneer
David Scales, left, Ron Barrett and Alan MacLennan were on hand Thursday evening to break ground on a ceremonial tree planting to commemorate the begging on construction on the dam at Scales Pond.
FREETOWN – David Scales looked out over the pond named after his father, and took a moment to think about his answer.
The question – “What’s your favourite story from this place?” – seemed simple enough. Anybody else might prompt a quick and simple answer about a fishing trip or an overturned canoe.
Instead, it’s the entire history Scales treasures.
“The property originally, when my father bought it, was a gristmill. He had a generator at the same time, generating some power in the area. Dad wanted to eventually extend the cables to Kensington, so they had to rework the dam to help with all the extra workload.”
The pond that carries the Scales’ name eventually became a place for everybody.
“I recall full families coming down here to fish, some off the banks, but some had boats,” he said. “We’d go way upstream and fish all day long.”
Scales, the largest individual donor to the fundraising effort, was on hand at the International Children’s Memorial Place at Scales Pond for a tree planting ceremony to recognize the start of construction on the dam.
The rebuilding will bring back water to the pond, after the dam was destroyed by the spring thaw in 2009.
Ron Barrett, vice-chair of the Scales Pond/Dunk River Restoration Committee, dedicated the ceremony to the funders who have helped them gather $552,000 of their $600,000 goal.
“This tree is dedicated to the ongoing efforts and support of the many people, business and organizations that have provided funding and/or service in-kind for the restoration project,” he said.
With work well underway, construction crews are now excavating the old pond bottom to deepen it when the pond is re-flooded. It adds up to approximately 5,000 truckloads of soil, 3,500 of which have been taken off their hands for the price of shipment.
Throughout the course of the ceremony, various people involved with the project got up and spoke, sharing stories of the pond.
Kerry Duggan, of the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities, was one of them.
She spoke of her friend, and well-known Island artist, Hilda Woolnough, who passed away in 2007.
During her life, Woolnough often frequented the pond to swim.
“One of her last wishes was to have some of her ashes scattered in Scales Pond,” Duggan said.
In the spring of the year, Duggan and friends came to the pond to grant her wish.
“We scattered some of her own hollyhock petals in with them, and they just spread out on the pond. And then of course we poured a little champagne in there,” she laughed.
Project manager John Phillips spoke of how his persistence in securing funding has been annoying, to say the least.
“I don’t think I’m allowed back in Gail Shea’s or Wayne Easter’s offices anymore,” he laughed.
Phillips, upfront and candid as ever, said he didn’t initially want to take on such a big role. Once he got involved, however, there was no turning back.
“I’ve never started anything that I’ve never finished,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been so involved in it. I don’t care what it takes. I’m going to get it done.”
When construction finishes next November, water will once again flood the area. After that, the pond will be stocked with 30,000 trout, courtesy of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I., and 45,000 salmon.
David Scales can’t wait to see life come back to the old pond once again.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing they’re doing. Not only for the historical bit, but it’s helping things of Mother Nature.
“We’re helping her to paint a nice picture here.”