Centennial Park fix won’t come cheap

The job of reopening Centennial Park could begin this summer under a proposed restoration plan that comes with an eye-popping $8.5 million to $12.6 million price tag.

Concept plans presented to city council this week would see ground contaminated with lead and asbestos in areas of the waterfront park removed or covered over with “geotextile” fabric and clean topsoil.

Other smaller parts would be paved with concrete or turned into asphalt parking lots.

“When you look at this, it really involves the demolition of a large portion of the park,” said Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

This week, the public began weigh in on two options to rebuild the park’s attractions once the soil is remediated.

Plan A includes an “events pad” for festivals such Bayfest, a pollution barrier separating the land from Sarnia Bay, and relocating the existing playground to a renewed Dow People Place.

Plan B calls for a playing field of artificial grass and fieldhouse, replacing the beach with a “coastal wall” and railing, and moving the playground to the former Bayfest stage area.

Both options include new landscaping, trails, plazas, lighting and improvements to the tobogganing hills.

An open house and meeting at city hall is planned for April 15 at 6 p.m. to present the concepts. The community can also review the plans on the city’s website and comment at centennialpark@sarnia.ca until April 23.

If all goes well, final concept plan would go to council May 5 with a final vote June 30.

– George Mathewson