by Mark Cardwell

Of the multiple community projects that the Port of Sept-Îles was involved with again this year, the biggest was a partnership with the city to redevelop and revitalize a cherished public park.

“Parc Aylmer-Whittom is one of our region’s real natural treasures,” port president & CEO Pierre Gagnon said when the project was announced in July. “Its location along the bay is ideal and everyone loves it.”

Under the terms of the partnership, the port will provide $260,000 in financing to the $1.1-million project.

The money will be used to do a major makeover of the family park’s features and facilities, including a new entrance gate and washrooms at the park entrance.

Inside, several new maritime-themed attractions, games and activities for families will also be added.

The highlight will be a 10-metre-long wooden sailing ship that kids can play on in a new family area at the centre of the park. There will also be a new children’s play area with a variety of novel facilities, including miniature houses.

Work will also be done to reduce the steepness of the park’s paths, wooden stairs and bridges will be removed to improve access, and new signs and interpretation panels will be installed along pathways.

In addition to helping revitalize the park, the Port of Sept-Îles also gave the local Ste-Marguerite Golf Club $15,000 to help reforest parts of the course that have been badly affected by spruce budworms.

“The Port of Sept-Îles wants to encourage environmental protection and environmental initiatives in the region,” said Gagnon. That’s why we’re pleased to support this reforestation effort, which promotes carbon sequestration and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Port also notably continued to provide four important social groups – Homme Sept-Ils, L’Âtre, L’Envol, Maison de la famille and La Source – with 30-second commercials on local television to help them promote their charitable work in the community.