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Parcel Four possibilities

So now the Forks Renewal Corp. is talking of filling up the last remaining public space with highrise residential towers (New direction for The Forks, June 28). They don't talk much about the thousands of attendant cars and trucks and the acres of obligatory parking this would entail, nor do they mention the extra traffic or pollution.

Does downtown residential density have to be at the expense of our precious, publicly owned Forks?

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For years the city has agonized over what to do about all those ugly surface parking lots that give our city an abandoned, almost-derelict appearance. Build residential towers on these lots and everyone will applaud you.

The Forks is appreciated as a charming oasis of serenity set apart from the sea of sterile concrete and infernal cars that are the bane of a bustling city. If we must fill the empty spaces, perhaps we should invite civic-minded citizens to submit their ideas, with only one proviso: Keep it green.




Parcel Four is a very valuable piece of land, historically, geographically, socially and economically, and should remain accessible to all.

With the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights later this year, a large number of visitors is expected at The Forks, and parking is currently inadequate. While the initial costs of an underground parkade would be steep, user fees and less maintenance, particularly in winter, would offset the high investment.

This would allow the Parcel Four surface area to be developed into a unique, attractive and versatile space. We could create a year-round rallying point around a multi-storey building surrounded by creative landscaping.

Hopefully, the broad consultation and studies of recent years will produce the best possible outcome for the use for Parcel Four and its adjoining area. Other cities have created original, people-friendly meeting places that should inspire our own decision-makers. The Forks must remain a vital and vibrant focus for our city, its people and all visitors.




No doubt developers have many exciting ideas for the Parcel Four area: condos, shops, maybe throw in another hotel for the area. It could be very lucrative for a number of people.

I'm also quite sure developers in New York City could come up with similar "exciting" concepts for Central Park. Fortunately, wiser people in that metropolis understand the importance of maintaining this large green space for the city.

I suggest Winnipeg's movers and shakers visit the Central Park website and see how the area has been changed from a rundown eyesore for the city to something that is a jewel and a popular attraction for citizens and tourists alike.




Student experience varies

Regarding the Free Press editorial on school reform, what should be done and what the NDP is not doing, I agree we need more accountability, but not via provincial exams or standardized testing (Manitoba schools need to be tested, Editorial, June 30).

These types of assessment tools suggest each learning community is the same -- that they have the same experiences and opportunities. Even within schools, this simply is not the case.

Instead, I would suggest we have teachers sit in on each other's classes and provide feedback, that administrators observe teachers on a yearly basis, and that other stakeholders are able to gain insight into what actually goes on in the classroom. Administrators and colleagues should sit down with students to see how they learn so we are able to understand the challenges some teachers face and capitalize on their expertise.

This feedback seems more valuable than test scores, which may only indicate how well some kids are able to take tests. I would rather know what is happening in terms of excellence in learning and teaching.




Smaller not always better

While Brian Pallister's interest in reviewing public-sector effectiveness is positive, unsubstantiated comments about it being "out of whack" imply an ideology of "smaller is better" more than rational thinking (Pallister says he won't swing axe at public sector, June 28).

His comments about reductions through attrition are particularly concerning to younger workers. Many people who have studied and want to give back to their communities will find doors closed to them.

Pallister represents a generation that had many opportunities in public-sector employment, and to deny younger people these same opportunities out of ideology is offensive.

Effectiveness of the public sector should be ongoing. This involves an honest conversation from the ground up with Manitobans, not arbitrary targets imposed from the top.




Lead by example on carbon

Letter-writer Edward Katz states that "western nations need to do a better job of convincing the developing world to cut (carbon) emissions," but provides no insight into how this might be accomplished (Pipelines not the problem, Letters, June 30).

If we are to speak with any integrity about this matter, we need to get our own act together first. Canadian per-capita carbon emissions are many times higher than those of developing countries, and Canada's environmental record in recent years is abysmal.

It's well past time for us to step up and take global warming seriously. It's time Canada started leading by example.




Follow naming protocol

Re: Redwood's rich history (Letters, June 27). The city of Winnipeg should do its homework and stop making historical name changes without following a specific protocol.

It's one thing for an individual to donate funds and demand a name on a public building, but wiping away the Redwood Bridge with the stroke of a pen is on the wrong side of history.



Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 2, 2014 A6

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