It’s been a busy year at Belfountain Conservation Area. We’ve been working hard to complete a critical restoration project that will help protect and manage the natural and cultural heritage at this historic property.
The project is focused on three key areas of restoration work: a dam and channel restoration, heritage gardens construction, and bridge and trail upgrades.
What’s happened so far?
Restoration work began this summer with construction on the dam and channel. Our first task was to lower the dam by one metre and remove the sluiceway (a channel for overflow water to pass through). This allowed us to undertake the needed restoration work on a 180-metre section of the West Credit. This work was critical to improve structural stability.
The work was completed by our general contractor R&M Construction. These changes will improve the overall health of the river by increasing flow and cooling the water. This improves habitat for native brook trout.
What’s happening now?
We’re currently restoring and rebuilding trails and boardwalks. This will enhance the overall experience at the park.
In some sections of the boardwalk, we’ve installed micropile supports. They are foundation elements that are used when there are natural obstructions or sensitive ground beside a structure. The micropile supports help stabilize the boardwalk.
In the park’s heritage gardens, we’re restoring the stone walls and stairs, and rehabilitating the iconic ‘belle’ fountain. These cultural heritage features were original to the property and date back to when it was Mack’s Park. Fountain restoration is being complete by Clifford Restoration. The tiers and basin have been carefully repaired and the fountain will be restored to its former glory, with a new spray design and water circulation system.
We’ve added new elements, such as the dry-stone wall and Fox Folly lookout. These latest additions are aligned with Charles Mack’s original English picturesque landscape features. The Fox Folly (sculpture) has been installed along the new boardwalk trail. This sculpture was designed by Brook McIlroy in collaboration with the fabricator, LaFontaine Iron Werks. The fox is a tribute to Sam Brock, Charles Mack’s collaborator and the original builder of the park, who was also an avid trapper.
The dry-stone wall is being constructed by Dean McLellan Stonework in the newly constructed heritage gardens. Dean is a Master Craftsman recognized by the British Dry Stone Walling Association. His team is also working to covert the old swimming pool into a lily pond.
Our next step in the restoration is to complete the new pedestrian bridge. It will be built off-site by Iron Bridge Fabrication and brought to Belfountain Conservation Area in the coming weeks. Plantings, granular and flagstone trails, and benches are also coming soon. The park is scheduled to re-open in spring 2022 once the restoration is complete.
Learn more about the Belfountain Restoration Project.