A national urban park could be Winnipeg’s future.
The City of Winnipeg signed a âstatement of collaborationâ with Parks Canada to discuss the idea.
Discussions will focus on the feasibility of adding a national urban park to Winnipeg, city spokesman Ken Allen said in a written statement.
“While these conversations are still in their early stages, we are committed to supporting the discussion and working together toâ¦ examine possible (sites) for future national parks and strategize / formalize future agreements according to the needs, âAllen said.
Com. Sherri Rollins, president of city council parks, said the program supports a key city goal of preserving and expanding green space.
“It increases the land that (the federal government) protects. It’s absolutely in line with the city’s strategic plan,” Rollins said.
In June, city council approved two key development planning documents – OurWinnipeg 2045 and Complete Communities 2.0 – after adjusting them to help keep existing green space intact and add more green space in the future. These plans set a guideline for the city council to prohibit development on major city-owned green spaces, such as forests, parks and golf courses. The council also pledged to “take action” to add 1,000 acres of public park space to its reserves by 2045.
Parks Canada aims to spend up to $ 131 million to create a network of national urban parks. The senior government also signed declarations with the Meewasin Valley Authority (in Saskatchewan), as well as with the municipalities of Halifax and Windsor, Ontario. Further discussions could identify urban park sites in Edmonton, Colwood, British Columbia and Montreal, according to a federal press release.
The federal government expects the network to help protect biodiversity, which is most threatened in urban areas.
Rollins said it was not yet clear where a potential national park could be placed in Winnipeg.
While the city is expected to “co-host” the space, Rollins said it was also not clear how much money, if any, the city should provide for the project, if a park is added.
She stressed that the deal sets a clear path for creating a national park, which she believes many Winnipeggers want.
â(Parks are) beloved spaces. People really want the city to prioritize them with investments. This became crystal clear during the discussions on OurWinnipeg and Complete Communitiesâ¦ This was the # 1 priority on which people wrote to me (when these plans were discussed), âRollins said.
The federal government says it will consult closely with Indigenous communities on the proposed park system.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne enjoys telling the stories of this city, especially when it comes to politics. Joyanne became a City Hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.
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