Developing a Care/Maintenance Program for Bridgwater Forest

Please consider joining myself, Bridgwater residents, and the City’s Parks and Naturalist Services Departments as we work towards developing a care and maintenance program for Bridgwater Forest.

When dense urban environment is constructed around a natural forest, the forest will experience stress and habitat will be impacted. To address this challenge, I hosted a community meeting on June 27, 2017. City representatives from the Parks and Naturalist Services Departments attended, and along with area residents, some key first steps in developing a care and maintenance plan for Bridgwater Forest were identified.

When residents work in partnership with the City, good things can happen.  A local example is the volunteer-based stewardship group, Save Our Seine (SOS), who orchestrated a 4-year campaign (2002 to 2006) to protect the 82-acre Bois-des-esprits forest along the Seine River in South St. Vital. Today, SOS and City are committed to ensuring that the valuable investment made in Bois-des-esprits by the community will be safeguarded for years to come through a formal forest management plan.

IN SUMMARY: We are working towards developing a maintenance and care plan for Bridgwater Forest that is clearly defined and keeps everyone – the City and community residents – on the same page.

INVITATION: If you are interested in assisting/offering input, ideas and suggestions, please E-Mail

My thanks to the Winnipeg Free Press for reporting on this story.

Bridgwater design flaws, illegal drainage hurting city forest, councillor says


Trees are dying in Bridgwater Forest as a result of what the area councillor says is poor city planning compounded by homeowners illegally draining their sump pumps.

Drainage throughout the 25-acre forest is poor, with paths that block the flow of water and ineffective catch basins installed too high off the ground, South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes said on Wednesday.

“There are a lot of trees sitting in water and they’re dying,” she said.

Lukes said the homes in the area are large and built too close together with small lawns not capable of handling the runoff from sump pumps. Homeowners are either directing the sump pumps onto their driveways and front street — in a clear breach of civic bylaws — or straight into the forest.

The result is many instances where standing water remains throughout the forest for prolonged periods of time. There is no apparent solution, she said, and it’s a situation the city’s planning department should have factored into its decision and design-approval process when greenlighting the neighbourhood’s development.

“It’s extremely frustrating and it’s poor planning,” Lukes said.

“The actual drainage plan is flawed. The residents believe the primary cause is poor drainage design. They do recognize sump pumps are contributing factors.”

Lukes said city hall has failed to catch up with the best practices of other communities, which require developers to tie household sump pumps directly into the underground storm water drains.

Attempts to update the conditions imposed on developers have been derailed by Mayor Brian Bowman’s decision to impose fees on new residential development, which led to a protracted dispute tied up in court.

In the meantime, Lukes said she has convinced the city’s naturalist services division to conduct a habitat assessment of the forest.

“We’re aware there are some point-specific issues around there where there may have been changes to drainage patterns or water coming in from sump pumps,” city naturalist Rodney Penner said.

Penner said there are similar occurrences across the city where homeowners have directed sump pumps into nearby parks and natural grass areas.

A heavy flow of storm water from sump pumps can have a devastating impact on nearby parkland, he said.

The habitat assessment will be completed in the fall, he said.

Lukes said she is working with city hall’s communications team to develop a brochure to make residents aware of the consequences of directing pump flows into the forest, and with the water and waste department on catch basin placement and height.

Information on proper placement of sump pump lines is available on the City of Winnipeg’s website at   Read more by Aldo Santin.