Wendy Lourenco is a Royalwood resident and mother of three who has been on a mission for eight years. And that mission is now being accomplished.
The City of Winnipeg has begun construction of the Shorehill pedestrian path that will connect Royalwood with Southdale.
The bike and pedestrian trail will run from Bishop Grandin Boulevard north of Shorehill Drive to Beaverhill Boulevard, over a storm water ditch, and away from a set of railway tracks.
Safety has been the driving force behind Lourenco’s efforts. She says she path is long overdue — especially since many Royalwood children attend Niakwa Place or École Guyot elementary schools and J.H. Bruns Collegiate. All three schools are located in Southdale. Presently, children who walk from Royalwood to Southdale take a shortcut directly north through the greenspace, which involves crossing a ditch.
"When your child is out of Grade 6 you apply to pay for a spot on the school bus, ride the Transit, get driven or have a viable and healthy option of walking", explains Lourenco.
"But the flooded ditch every year makes that quite an event; my daughter has fallen in the ditch several times. We have had many a home-made bridge but it gets torn apart, too, and it is not the best option."
An even more dangerous situation is some children will head east and walk along the train tracks, Lourenco says.
Erin Selby, Manitoba advanced education and literacy minister, announced the beginning of construction on the path and recognized Lourenco’s role in the project in a flyer recently distributed to Royalwood residents.
"There are several schools in this area and providing a path for these young people away from an active train line is vital", Selby wrote.
Lourenco knows that her family and other Royalwood youth will make full use of the path. According to the City, it should be finished by the end of the summer.
"Two of my children will be utilizing the path all the time on their walks to J.H. Bruns as well as visiting friends in Southdale," Lourenco said.
"It will connect the community together enabling all to walk and cycle safely. I know the older kids certainly like that option of walking to school friends."
Lourenco thanks area residents for taking an interest. "I cannot wait for this to come to be…I think all our communities will be pleased, I know we will."
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Royalwood residents are invited to take part in the annual Community Garage Sale on Saturday, May 25. You can signal your participation by leaving your garage door open.
Let’s show Winnipeg that we have the best garage sales in town! Please contact me if you are planning to donate the proceeds of your garage sale to charity. Your generosity will be featured in my June column.
Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood.