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Keep Parcel Four green

While there are many reasonable alternative uses possible for Parcel Four at The Forks, I believe the vast majority of Winnipeggers want to see a more peaceful green space complementing the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (Parcel Four possibilities, Letters, July 2).

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For some time, the Manitoba Forestry Association, of which I am a director, has been quietly championing the use of Parcel Four as a green area, where trees native to Manitoba would surround bench-lined paths.

In the summer months, a beautiful bird bath/fountain, converted to a bird-feeding station in winter, could enhance the pleasures of visiting what could be categorized as a modified arboretum.

We don't need more bricks, mortar and paving. We do want more green. Manitoba's provincial tree, the white spruce, is green all year long, even in winter.





Red River anything but 'lazy'

I couldn't help but shake my head as I read Brent Bellamy's June 23 column Let's make River City a reality.

He writes about the "lazy Prairie rivers that meander through the city." I have gone through every flood since 1948. Where was Bellamy in 1950 or in 1997? The Red River was anything but lazy.

Bellamy also mentions saving Winnipeg walkways at the expense of farmers who live south, west and north of the city. Has Bellamy ever spoken with the landowners he wants to affect in order to preserve Winnipeg's riverbanks?

In flood times, has Bellamy every dealt with bureaucrats at Manitoba's Emergency Measures Organization? Most don't seem to know the difference between oats and barley, hay and straw, bull and cow, or heifer and steer.





Confusion over Wuskwatim

Re: Manitoba Hydro sweetens pot on Wuskwatim for NCN (June 28). Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation members have never seen the Project Development Agreement's Supplement No. 2 documents, despite asking through two sets of community meetings in May and June. None of us has a copy of the original PDA supplement either.

Audio and video records of the meetings about the PDA supplement are also not available. Now we are waiting to find out whether there will be more meetings, or if we're going to vote on the Wuskwatim Supplement No. 2 PDA.

It's not clear to members why we are being asked to take money out of the two trust funds. It's not clear how previous funding from the Wuskwatim PDA was spent, nor is it clear whether money from the new PDA is a loan from Manitoba Hydro to our community based on future revenues from Wuskwatim.

No community should be expected to approve these kinds of important business and financial arrangements without being able to read and review the agreement and its supplements.

They said the Wuskwatim deal would bring economic development -- where is it? How much have our leaders borrowed from future revenues, and will this continue?



Nelson House


BRT route all wrong

In what has become a trademark of Mayor Sam Katz's tenure, city council has made another bad decision -- simply put, the Phase 2 BRT route is in the wrong place (Bus path to U of M cleared, June 26).

Running through the soggy and wind-swept Parker Wetlands, Phase 2 is hundreds of metres from any appreciable customer base. If placed closer to population densities, it could serve a real purpose and turn a profit from Day 1. If the lack of riders getting on and off along Phase 1 is any indication, Phase 2 will not be profitable for decades.

The $590-million price tag is just the starting point. There are lots of unknowns here: high water table, power lines, an aqueduct and a reservoir, to name a few.

In a highly questionable deal, former CAO Phil Sheegl transferred the wetlands to Gem Equities. Sam Katz vocally opposed BRT until after this land swap. Why?

Arrayed against these (and more) facts are subjective, vague words such as "progressive," "visionary" and "courageous" -- hardly the yardsticks by which one should measure an important, expensive project.

This project won't save Winnipeg's infrastructure, or even Pembina Highway. This developer-driven, taxpayer-funded money pit will result in huge tax increases while exacerbating infrastructure decline as budgets are trimmed and funds diverted.





Stop studying, start digging

Here we are, more than three years after the $1-billion 2011 Lake Manitoba disaster and, once again, there's too much water around (Virden bracing for more flooding, July 2).

In those three years, the Manitoba government has spent millions on reports and studies. All that money has been spent on a very simple situation -- you can't keep putting more water into a location than you can take out without there being an overflow condition.

It's not rocket science to realize we are headed for another disaster. An additional outlet directly from Lake Manitoba to Lake Winnipeg, along with increases to the flow capacity of the Assiniboine River, is needed immediately.

Stop studying and start digging.



St. Laurent


A culture of education

I'm sorry to read the Free Press has connected the state of education in the province to the policy makers and the politicians (Manitoba schools need to be tested, Editorial, June 30).

Education is everyone's responsibility; we must create a culture in which education is given priority. We want our children to do well, to live a life of peace, prosperity and pleasure.

We need to create a culture that encourages the importance of the wealth of knowledge through our civic institutions, homes, playgrounds, schools and arts. We need to create a culture of compassion, learning and love in order make our children high achievers.





Dief born in Ontario

Contrary to Bartley Kives' piece Maple syrup forever (June 28), former prime minister John Diefenbaker was not born in Saskatchewan -- rather, he was born in Neustadt, Ont., in 1895.

Dief's family moved to Fort Carlton in the Northwest Territories in 1903, when he was seven or eight years old. When Saskatchewan became a province in 1905, Fort Carlton was a part of the new province.

So Dief spent the earliest part of his life in his birth province of Ontario and two years in the Northwest Territories. He was a resident of Saskatchewan from the moment of its creation, 17 days before his 10th birthday.




Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 3, 2014 A12

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