Originally printed in The Lance (2014 03 26)
Everyone agrees that green spaces enrich our lives. We all want to live and work close to a park or green space. Unfortunately, we don’t always agree on the definition of green space or how it should be used. Seniors may enjoy a patch of lawn with a flower garden, tree, and bench where they can sit in the sun or shade. Parents want sports fields and playgrounds for their kids. Cyclists and walkers prefer greenways that allow them to move safely around their neighbourhoods and the city. Apartment-dwellers may want a garden plot to grow their own vegetables. Dog owners crave places to exercise their dogs. Home buyers often want to live beside green spaces that will extend the look and feel of their own yards. Nature-lovers crave wild spaces – a forest, prairie, or wetland where they can experience serenity and the sights and sounds of wildlife without leaving the city.
Can these different needs be met to everyone’s satisfaction inside Winnipeg? We will see as the planning for Precinct K progresses. Precinct K lies south of Island Lakes and Royalwood. It is bounded by Lagimodiere (east), the Perimeter (south), and the Seine River (west). Planning for the development of this 547-acre parcel of land is in full swing. One issue that could be decided as early as April 7th relates to the amount and type of green space Precinct K will retain and where it will be located.
Winnipeg requires at least 10% of the land proposed for development to be conveyed to the city for public purposes other than streets. Will the minimum amount of land dedication be enough to meet the diverse green space needs of the community without sacrificing the naturally and culturally significant lands along the Seine River? Or, should the amount be larger? Consider for a moment that the Bois-des-esprits Forest in Royalwood is 78 acres in size. Preserving this hidden gem required significantly more land than the minimum 10% land dedication. Will the plan for Precinct K call for the preservation of high-quality forest along the river plus enough upland for a public trail that links to the Bois-des-esprits? Will the plan enhance the Seine River Greenway as linear park of regional significance for the SE quadrant of the city? Time will tell.
The public forum on April 2 that was mentioned in the article in The Lance has been postponed. If you would like to be notified of the new date and details once they have been confirmed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.