Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

Saving paradise

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Cheryl Girard's April 27 column, Winnipeg's parks -- spring into them, delightfully reminds us of the reasons why our first urban planners created our parks more than a century ago. The health benefits of walking among flowers, trees and urban wildlife are needed now more than ever in our history. Unfortunately, the amount of land dedicated to public parks in Winnipeg is dwindling.

On the lawns outside the Health Sciences Centre, mature deciduous trees used to grow their large, leafy canopies every summer. Forty years ago, hospital staff would relish the midday break spent under these trees.

One small but beautiful area was set aside before 1900, specifically so that the nurses would have safe and restful spots for walks, and neighbourhood children could play there. All of this historic land is covered now with the concrete of buildings and parkades.

The mayor and most of council do not understand that mature trees increase the monetary as well as the esthetic value of city real estate. Tiny replacement trees take many years of growth to become environmental assets.

Councillors' apparent bias toward unconditional development is evident in the probable loss of the Parker lands to a bus route serving yet unbuilt housing and in the uncertain fate of the four golf courses proposed for lease-out as early as this June.

Winnipeggers deserve to have legally binding provisions to save at least part of these well-treed public lands for parks while we still have mature trees surviving in Winnipeg.

JEAN A. PATERSON

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2013 A8

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