LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 8, 2021: BLANC-SABLON – Goodchild Park Welcomes You Free of Charge!
Sometimes in life, an event will happen that will shake a community to its core, and with time in trying to find ways to cope with what has happened, people will come together in a positive way to begin to heal.
On March 9th 1995, an avalanche occurred at Goodchild hill, claiming the lives of two residents on Goodchild Street, Tony Lavallee and Jamie Lavallee, a father and a son. The avalanche of 95' left devastation and sadness in the tiny community of Blanc-Sablon. Then later, in the year 2002, the Quebec government approved relocation project saw the residents of Goodchild Street relocated elsewhere in Blanc-Sablon.
Renita Lavallee of Blanc-Sablon recalls the memories of growing up in the area, and fondness for the street and those who lived there. "I always walked in the area after the houses were moved, the space has always been a place I enjoyed coming to. It was where I grew up."
As time moved forward, nature began to reclaim the area. Land lots that once held homes, were now overgrown and unkept. Then one day, Renita along with Melissa Lavallee, Darcy Chubbs, Marlene Letto, Melvina Lawless, and Bernice Lavallee, had an idea of cleaning up the area and making it a community campsite. And so together, they set out on beginning the clean up effort, putting in countless hours of their own time, and money, to bring the community back to Goodchild Street.
"It was very therapeutic for me to return to the site and make something positive for the community after what had happened. We also realized that together, we can take an idea and then put it in action for the community, to make a special space," says Renita Lavallee.
A few years later, she had decided to approach the local Caisse Populaire for funding to buy much needed necessities for the campsite, up to that point, everything that was placed at Parc Goodchild was community donated, and most of the time from Renita herself. Renita had received the funds requested from the Caisse Populaire, as well as from Pacte Rurale, with assistance from the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, and Blanc-Sablon à vie. The Centre services scolaire du Littoral (CSSL) recently donated the playground set that was originally on the Ecole St. Theresa site. Family and friends of those who had perished in the avalanche of 1995 had also donated items to the campsite in memory of Tony and Jamie.
GOODCHILD PARK CAMPSITE WELCOMES YOU ......
Today, Goodchild Park is a bustle of activity, breathing renewed enjoyment to a street that still feels like home to people, and making new memories for the campers who choose to visit the community.
The park has many campsites that include a fire pit, lounge chairs, some with tent platforms, on site port a potty, benches, picnic tables, playsets, and more. Renita says soon there will be better access to running water, and a 2nd port a potty will be arriving that is wheelchair accessible, and other functional items soon to be added, like an adapted outdoor playset from Jambette.
The park is there for everyone to enjoy, and it is free of charge to visitors, and campers. Those who visit are asked to clean up after themselves and to please respect the space. Unfortunately, there has been incidents of vandalism over the years, and Renita asks everyone that comes to the site to remember what the campsite is all about; a spot for the community and visitors to gather, a community memorial, and a place to appreciate the beauty of the local scenery.
Renita would like to thank all those who have been a part of the realization of Goodchild Park, the volunteers over the years who assisted in the upkeep of the area, and especially to her father Clarence Lavallee, and to her husband Jody Letemplier, who have also worked tirelessly at maintaining the park.
Visitors who are coming to region, when exiting the ferry: turn right at the first intersection, and then follow the Boulevard Docteur Camille until you see Goodchild Hill and then make a left to the campsite.
For the Facebook public group page of Parc Goodchild, click here.
Summer is finally here, so why not stop by Goodchild Park and relax, or go for a scenic walk. The site is breathtaking, and if you see Renita, stop and say hi to her. And if you have some time to give, why not ask if she needs a hand. Because together, we can make something beautiful happen.
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