SAVAGE COVE, N.L. — The anticipation amongst the children was palpable.
When the time came, the young boys and girls burst through the opened gate in an excited flow, running to the nearest seesaws, slides, swings and other playground equipment.
It was a moment 14 years in the making, but the Savage Cove playground was officially opened at long last.
On Saturday, June 16, the Great Northern Peninsula community held a grand opening for the Heart of the Harbour Savage Cove Playground. The day was a testament to the dedication and hard work of the recreation committee, local parents and volunteers.
Plans for a playground were introduced back in 2004 when a few parents met to discuss establishing a playground for their children.
Today, some of those children are teenagers. During the opening, they could be found shooting hoops at the nearby basketball court — another part of the project.
Meanwhile, most of the young ones enjoying the playground weren’t even born when the initiative was underway.
Later in 2004, the parents working on the playground initiative applied for a grant from the International Grenfell Association (IGA), receiving $10,000 the following May.
That would help them start things off.
But they also needed land. To that end, they requested permission from the St. Mary’s Anglican Church vestry to use a 100x100-foot space behind the church.
Their letter to the vestry expressed their goals for the playground.
“This playground will be a place for our children to play, be active and socialize with other children,” it read.
The playground and basketball court today stands behind the church.
Over the past two years, the Savage Cove Recreation/Playground committee has organized many fundraisers to see the project come to fruition.
One of them was a Chase the Ace lottery, held for nearly a year, from June 2016 to March 2017.
Through that, they raised enough funds to purchase the larger playground equipment.
Another $10,000 IGA grant allowed them to lay down the pavement for the basketball court.
Next the committee hopes to receive funding to put sods in the soccer area.
“A lot of time and energy has gone into making this playground what it is today,” said recreation committee secretary Trudy Coles at the opening ceremony.
The name of the playground was determined through a Facebook competition and selected by the committee. The winner, Leanne Williams, received a $25 prize. She unveiled a sign, designed for the playground by Danny Rose.
For the ribbon-cutting, everyone held on while cutting duties were given to Murray Whalen, the owner of T&M Construction Company. It was Whalen who first cleared the land back in 2005.
He also put the equipment together and donated the new fencing.
The playground is being used by children, not just from Savage Cove, but throughout the Straits region of the Great Northern Peninsula.