It took a fine day and easing pandemic conditions, but Rogers Landing Slipway and Docks are officially open.
About 100 people attended the event dedicated to the memory of Roger MacLellan and his vision for the facility. It is located on the west side of the River John river where abutments supported the former bridge that spanned the river on the Sunrise Trail.
It’s the fourth in a series of projects the River John Community Action Society completed to enhance the use of the river for residents and visitors. Previous ones include the floating dock below Bissell Park on the east side of the river, washrooms and a slip.
Master of ceremonies Patrick Mulholland shared MacLellan’s skill driving heavy equipment and how it contributed to the project.
“He loved River John and River John loved him,” he said. “He envisioned something here.”
The project cost $140,000. While it included government funds, proceeds from the sale of items from the former River John Consolidated School were also dedicated to it.
District 4 municipal councillor Mary Woodridge-Elliott addressed the gathering and congratulated the group for “a job well done.”
“It means so much to Roger’s family and all his friends,” she said.
Warden Robert Parker said projects like this reflect the special quality of rural Pictou County.
“It’s things like what’s happening in this community that makes us tick,” he said.
Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane recalled meeting MacLellan shortly after being elected for the first time in 2013.
“I got to know him pretty quickly,” she said. “He really stood up for this community. Success is plural. It is not singular. No one person did this project. It’s an exciting time for all of you.”
Central Nova MP Sean Fraser recalled a similar experience regarding MacLellan after he was first elected in 2015.
“It took him about five minutes to find me,” Fraser said while sharing a phone call by MacLellan to confirm funding. “That’s a phone call I’m not going to forget.”
Fraser referred to a trend among newcomers to settle in River John and area.
“People are not just moving to Halifax anymore,” he said. “We have incredible natural assets.”
Society president Joan MacLeod concluded the event by saluting fellow members who took part in the project.