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by Isabel Mosseler

After years of planning, on-and-off-and-on-again organizing, fundraising, digging, planting and building, Lavigne’s dream of a community waterfront park has finally come to fruition. The opening was celebrated in grand fashion on Saturday, June 2, as representatives from the Centre communautaire de Lavigne Community Centre (CCL) and the Caisse populaire Alliance (Verner) were joined by a large crowd to unveil the new Parc Riverain Caisse Populaire Waterfront Park.

The much-anticipated official opening was attended by Mayor Joanne Savage, MPP John Vanthof and Caisse mascot Cachou. CCL president Carolyn Gaunt was beaming. “The event went very well. We fed over 100 people with more than 12 dozen hamburgers and hotdogs served by our BBQ team. The two beautiful cakes from Jean Marc’s Bakery also went quickly with no leftovers. Local musicians provided entertainment, balloons were provided for the kids, and the weather cooperated with a sunny day. MPP John Vanthof and Mayor Savage joined us for the grand opening as they had done for our ground breaking. From the Caisse Populaire, Lise Goupil and Cachou were on hand for the festivities.”

​Gaunt explained how the original plans for the waterfront development, dating back to 2002, were very elaborate and beyond the means of the community at the time. The project was quietly shelved and then resurrected when a new CCL board took over the reigns in 2014. The Caisse populaire was approached and donated $10,000 towards the revised plans, and the municipality assisted by helping to negotiate with the Diocese of Sault Ste-Marie for the land use. The municipality also revitalized the docks and provided further assistance. A group of volunteers oversaw the transition of the under-utilized area, revitalizing the neglected vantage point overlooking the bay with cement pads for picnic benches, public seating, public BBQ, a parking spot away from the launch area, and community gardens. 

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Long-awaited waterfront park