© Guardian photo
Jamie Fox, left, and Dennis Hopping, members of the Scales Pond Restoration Capital Fundraising Campaign, are trying to raise more than $1 million to restore the pond which was devastated by heavy runoff in 2009.
SOUTH FREETOWN — Dennis Hopping is looking forward to the day when he can sit and remember the daughter he lost while overlooking a newly restored Scales Pond.
Hopping is the chairman of the Scales Pond-Dunk River Restoration Committee.
Located right next to the International Children’s Memorial Place, a park just outside Kinkora where people can plant trees in memory of children they’ve lost. Scales Pond is undergoing a $600,000 makeover.
Crews have been working non-stop since July 24 to get the work done but the committee is still $48,000 short of its goal. And until they raise that money, the federal and provincial governments won’t kick in their $200,000 shares. About $340,000 of in-kind work has been completed.
“I’m a board member of the International Children’s Memorial Place and when we planted a tree for my grandson, my daughter and I sat on this pond and reminisced. This is the main reason I got involved (in the restoration),’’ Hopping said.
“I lost my daughter and I planted a tree for her and I find it very fitting that I’ll be able to sit on a bench and overlook the pond and remember some very good days.’’
A washout in 2009 all but destroyed the dam at Scales Pond. The water rose so quickly that it started to wash out the berm. The washout lowered the pond to the point where it literally disappeared, as did the berm. The berm had to be replaced as did the dam’s water control system.
“Today, we have a whole new water control system,’’ Hopping said on a recent tour of the area. “That new water control structure now goes on down to what is now a channel as the water flowed through here at one time.’’
John Phillips, the project manager, said more than 22 acres have been restored, involving the removal of 3,376 loads of topsoil. That’s almost 78,000 tonnes of dirt.
The work will also feature a new trail system that will, eventually, connect with the Confederation Trail about a mile away.
“Dennis and I last winter cut trails through the woods and we’re going to have walking trails which will be wheelchair accessible,’’ Phillips said.
Hopping said when the work is done, it will be quite the destination spot.
“We’ll have our pond back and then we can have recreational fishing, boating, swimming (and) we’ll have access points for the disabled where they can bring their wheelchairs down and fish,’’ Hopping said.
There will also be picnic areas.
The Native Council of P.E.I. and Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. are also involved with plans to construct a gazebo or some sort of memorial at the end of a new trail.
At one time, Scales Pond generated enough power to supply homes for miles in every direction. The generating station still stands.
The project should be completed by mid-November with a grand opening planned for next May.
For more information or to donate, contact Phillips at 439-0213 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phillips can also be reached by mail. The address is 1441 Waterview Road, Summerside, RR#2, C1N 4J8.