2019 Plans For Our Parks

I recently met with the Parks department for our annual review of the parks, playground and greenspaces in the Waverley West ward, and to set plan for upcoming park improvements. IF there are improvements to parks that you don’t see listed here but would like to discuss, please email me – I’ve been to every park in the ward and have spoken with many many residents, but know there may be more recommendations!  Here are the highlights of what is in the planning stages for 2019:

Upcoming Public Open Houses

The City will be holding open houses in the new year to continue the conversation and discussion on how we make strategic, forward-thinking decisions to ensure the City can deliver high-quality recreation and parks services . The Winnipeg Recreation and Park Strategies review is underway and will provide a 25-year framework to help guide recreation and parks programs, services, policies, standards and procedures, and future investment in existing and new infrastructure. The City of Winnipeg (the City) is facing some difficult challenges in maintaining its aging infrastructure and making new investments to meet future needs. I will be vigorously promoting these Open Houses when the dates are confirmed –  to encourage your input and feedback.

Scurfield Park in Whyte Ridge

Upgrades are underway and will continue into 2019/2020. Last summer, section of pathway were upgraded and the pathway work will continue this summer. The Park Department is securing engineering  quotes to upgrade the north east corner of the Park (Scurfield and Columbia) as many of the retaining walls, lighting and pathways are shifting and failing. I anticipate this work may start later in the summer and continue into next year.  Signage for all parks in Whyte Ridge will also be upgraded.

Whyte Ridge Community Centre Fitness Station

While not the responsibility of the Parks Department – there is a fitness station in the works! Watch for more details on this new workout facility as they become available! This will be a unique fully accessible system of work out stations installed near the community centre! Great work done by the Community Centre board!

Leon Bell Pathway (in Richmond West)

With a pathway connection now made into the neighbourhood of South Pointe, Leon Bell pathway is now experiencing increased levels of traffic. The pathway has become a connector for students attending South Pointe School and to other parks in Richmond West. Tree plantings  and surface upgrading are in the works for 2019.

Kirkbridge Park

The next phase of the park is to upgrade the west playstructure. The Department is compiling a series of playground styles for the Kirkbridge – Fairfield Park Residents Association to review and select. Many will have noticed the installation of additional benches last fall. A bike rack and more shade trees will be installed in 2019.

Keslar Park

Late fall, additional benches were installed in the park. I am in discussions to secure an estimate for increased lighting. With the addition of so many new apartments and condominiums, this park is seeing so much use by young families! I welcome any additional suggestions residents have for this park!

Bridgwater Forest Fountain

Summer of 2018: an engineer examined the fountain in detail and identified numerous leaks. These leaks were successfully repaired and the fountain was up and running at the end of the season. It is extremely good news that no structural work was required and that the leaks were easily repaired. New fountain heads (spouts) and light have been ordered for spring installation (the previous ones were stolen when the fountain was not running) and repair work to the chips located in the bowl will be done summer of 2019.  Leveling of paving stones and landscaping will be completed in 2019. I started working on the resurrection and repair of the fountain when first elected in 2014! Fountains are tricky features to care and maintain, but I do believe, as does the Department, that the repairs are winding up and the fountain will be in top working order in 2019!

Bridgwater Lakes Fountain

The Parks Department is now responsible for the operating and maintenance of this fountain. The developer (Manitoba Housing) will be repairing some minor deficiencies this spring (leveling paving stones, repairing exterior bricks, etc). I am working with the Parks Department to determine hours of operation and height of the water plumes. This fountain is our major gathering space in the neighbourhood and it is important to ensure it is in top working order!

Rose Lake Park / Fountain

This fountain is working and is under the care of the developer for a few more years! I expect the developer will be doing some work this spring to straighten some of the paving stones and relocate some benches. Bollards will be installed in 2019 along the pathways in this area. I am working with Public Works to have additional road wayfinding signage installed, and a camera to record nefarious activities that may occur. This is one of the most beautiful smaller parks in the ward, and is still under the care of the developer.

Soccer Fields in Bridgwater Forest and Lakes

The discussion to the repair / replacement / acceptance by the City – of these soccer fields – has been escalated to a higher level of management than the Parks Superintendent and Manager. I will be meeting with the Director of Public Works in the new year for an update. These fields need to be handed over to the City so the Community Centre can access to enable soccer, cricket  and baseball programming ASAP.

Park in Prairie Pointe

I am hoping the City gives final approval to the design plans for this new park in Prairie Pointe so the developer can begin construction this summer.  I will keep the Prairie Pointe Residents Association posted on details as they become available.

La Barriere Park

This park is located on Waverley Rd – south of the Perimeter Highway.  Over the years, I’ve worked to improve this park because it is located so close to the City, and it offers so much in recreational activity. Four years ago plans were put in place to construct a four season washroom that is now nearing completion and will be fully operational in Spring 2019! Last year I funded the installation of two permanent cricket pitches, and this year a fire pit, and picnic benches will be installed. I along with partnering Councillors and Paddle Manitoba –  we will be supporting the development of a greatly improved canoe/kayak launch on the banks of the La Salle River. I expect this project to take a couple of  years to plan and construct, but when completed will provide paddlers the ultimate experience on the La Salle River.

New Parks in New Developments

There are many new parks in the Neighbourhoods of Bridgwater and South Pointe that are still under developer care. I know some of these parks could use more benches, shade structures, and other features, but until they are handed over to the City, I am unable to provide improvements.

Funding for Parks and Greenspace Maintenance

This can be summed up quite simply.

  • Between 2010 & 2018 the City acquired a total of 169.25 hectares of parks and boulevards – BUT the parks maintenance budget has NOT increased to support the addition of this new space.

See an excerpt from recent report Parks and Open Space Division Service Levels identifying the dire state of maintenance requirements:

“Since 2010, over 100 hectares of parks and boulevards in new developments have been added without additional funding to support their maintenance. In 2016, basic park services are beginning to fail in peak periods. The Parks and Open Space Division is now forced to reduce key services including mowing and trimming in some areas to remain within approved budgets.

The increased demands of expanding parks inventory combined with aging parks infrastructure are no longer sustainable within existing funding levels. Although the Division continues to prioritize public safety issues, the ability to provide basic service to the citizens of Winnipeg has been compromised.”

We are seeing the impact of these dramatic service reductions city wide but even more so in many new neighbourhoods in Waverley West.  On average all new developments are require to include approximately  8% of land be dedicated to park space. The Neighbourhoods of Bridgwater were developed with twice the amount of greenspace than any other new neighbourhood in Winnipeg. While this is a huge selling feature of the neighbourhood – it is not being maintained.

From the attached chart, you can see the majority of parks and boulevards added were in the Neighbourhoods of Bridgwater, with much more coming once the City accepts the remaining in Bridgwater, and Prairie Pointe.

In past year, and again this year – I will be requesting funding in the Operating Budget to support maintenance of our parks and greenspaces. Maintenance of our green assets has not been a priority of previous or current Council – and I strongly believe that needs to change.  The Winnipeg Recreation and Park Strategies will be taking maintenance into consideration – but the bottom line is – funding needs to be prioritized by Council to maintain these green assets.