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New Pembroke Arboretum Waterfall dedicated to First Responders, Veterans, and Frontline Healthcare Workers

Fred Blackstein, the driving force behind beautification efforts at the Pembroke waterfront over the past two decades, conducts the dedication ceremony for the new arboretum's latest feature, a waterfall, on Sept. 23.  PHOTO BY ANTHONY DIXON.

Our Community Foundation has been an important partner in the development and maintenance of Pembroke's Waterfront Park, including the new feature highlighted below.

A beautiful new feature of the Pembroke arboretum was unveiled on the first day of autumn, Sept. 23 at the waterfront. A natural looking, recirculating waterfall, artistically designed by local artist Barbara Blackstein, and developed and constructed through community donations and labour, was turned on for the first time by Pembroke Mayor Ron Gervais at a ceremony dedicating the feature to first responders, frontline healthcare workers, veterans and wounded warriors.

The waterfall is situated in the south-east corner of the new arboretum, itself located within the large greenspace bordered by Fred Blackstein Blvd., Alexander Street, and Albert Street. Fred Blackstein, a proud member of the Pembroke Petawawa District Community Foundation, which was a big part of this project, has been the driving force behind the beautification efforts at the Pembroke waterfront for decades, hosted the dedication ceremony.

“During the discussions about what to put here in the park the question of putting a fountain of some kind was raised,” Blackstein explained. “And as discussions went on, a Roman or Venetian style fountain didn’t really seem to be right. So the decision was made to poll the entire community and everyone spoke about what they would like to see here. I promised I wouldn’t mention my wife (Barbara Blackstein) at all during this, but we all shared with her the vision we had for something nicer than a fountain, to be a little more like a piece of Algonquin Park, and that would fit in here a little better.”

The waterfall was built through generous donations, from some donors who wished to remain anonymous and by others including Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72 Pembroke.

“Nothing you see here is a burden on the ratepayers,” Blackstein noted.

The 10-foot tall waterfall, constructed from roughly 80 metric tonnes of rock and stone donated by McCrae Excavating LTd. of Pembroke, is pondless meaning it doesn’t run the risk of having a large open pond that could pose a danger for children and animals or encourage the growth of algae and bacteria. The reservoir for the waterfall is contained within an underground cube structure resembling a number of milk cartons stacked together with the stone placed on top. A pair of pumps capable of pumping between 7,000 and 8,000 gallons of water an hour are what brings the waterfall to life. Plans are to eventually have the waterfall be motion activated by anyone approaching it but for the moment, it is being turned on and off using a remote control.

The waterfall is for the enjoyment of everyone but was dedicated to first responders, wounded warriors, frontline healthcare workers, and veterans.

“It is well known that the sound and sight of running water is therapeutic and helpful. We’ve had a number of people down here already with young people with autism and developmental issues. We’ve had some first responders already down here after a bad day and that is why we built this,” Blackstein said.

Some of the dignitaries taking part in the dedication of the new waterfront waterfall to first responders, frontline healthcare workers, veterans and wounded warriors were, from left, Acting Inspector MaryAnn MacNeil of the Upper Ottawa Valley Detachment of the OPP, Fred Blackstein, waterfront volunteer, Pembroke Mayor Ron Gervais, Pembroke Legion President Stan Halliday, and Pembroke Fire Chief Scott Selle.  PHOTO BY ANTHONY DIXON 

Pembroke Mayor Ron Gervais was the one to officially turn on the waterfall for the first time during the ceremony. In his remarks, he recognized the many volunteers who support the community overall and in particular those whose efforts brought the waterfall feature into being.

“There are some that are giving of their time, some are giving of equipment and so forth, and some are generating funds to do what’s necessary for our beautiful city of Pembroke,” the mayor said.

“I just truly think that this is going to be a beautiful addition. People can come down here, first responders and the community at large, when you’re having a bad day, that sort of thing. There’s nothing more soothing than watching a waterfall and reflecting.”

Sam McCrae, owner and president of McCrae Excavating explained why his company wanted to donate tonnes of material and labour to the waterfall’s development.

“The community supports us and we like to support the community. Everything we do is community based,” he said.

Pembroke Councillor Pat Lafreniere wanted to especially recognize Fred and Barbara Blackstein.

“A big shout out has to go to Fred Blackstein and his wife Barb for all the hard work and time and blood and sweat that they have put into the entire waterfront. So on behalf of city council and myself personally, I just want to say thank you and I don’t know what we’re going to do if they ever decide to really retire,” Lafreniere added.

Posting credit of Anthony Dixon's Pembroke Observer article.


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