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Woodhaven vision plan unveiled

25-year plan seeks to preserve unique Woodhaven feel, work to start this fall

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The old play area is the first thing slated to be replaced, with work starting as early as this fall with $100,000 provided by the city.

PHOTO BY SEAN LEDWICH Enlarge Image

The old play area is the first thing slated to be replaced, with work starting as early as this fall with $100,000 provided by the city. Photo Store

About 100 people showed up at the Woodhaven Community Club on Thursday night last week to view a new vision plan for the neighbourhood and provide feedback in person and on written surveys.

The plans, created with $24,000 supplied by the city, were billed as the Building a Better Woodhaven Initiative.

The firm Scatliff+Miller+Murray designed the plans with feedback taken from a December open house attended by about 25 people.

"The people were pretty passionate and pretty vocal about what they like about Woodhaven and what they want preserved," said landscape architect Jennifer Wagner of last year’s open house.

Wagner was on hand to answer questions as people viewed the vision plan illustrated on several easel boards.

Wagner said in addition to the open house, she spent many hours speaking with community residents early in 2013 to get more feedback.

The plan, explained an introductory display, was created with the goal of preserving the "rural, cottage-like setting nestled in amongst mature oak stands and the rolling topography of the Sturgeon Creek watershed."

Among the long-term additions and improvements displayed was a boat storage and launch, interpretive kiosk, water access for fishing, an improved pedestrian trail network, a new "neighbourhood scale" community centre, and a revamped main entrance to the neighbourhood at Portage Avenue.

Many of those items are looking down the road 25 years, said St. James-Brooklands Coun. Scott Fielding.

In the immediate future, and with $100,000 already earmarked in the city’s capital budget, is the play area,  which will be started as early as this fall.

A boulder scramble, twig tunnel, hill slide and log steppers, a mushroom patch and a wide variety of swings will replace the current play area under the plans.

"It’s probably closer to $250,000, ballpark," Fielding said of the proposed play area, adding that although play areas are traditionally paid for by the city it would be nice if other levels of government contributed.

No costs were projected for any of the long-term plan items.

Anne Boyd, a 27-year resident of Woodhaven, said the plans are "very ambitious and will take a lot of community effort to get it up and running."

Boyd was part of a "group of mums" that raised funds for the existing play area 20 years ago, which cost about $25,000. The city and province kicked in about two-thirds of the cost at the time, she said.

"It will take a lot of fundraising effort, because I don’t think it will be a government handout," she said.

Françoise Genuit said the plans were "very impressive," and reminded her of the beauty of Assiniboine Park.

Her only concern was that if Woodhaven’s amenities get too attractive, then traffic from outside the area will increase.

"In this area, too many cars is no good. I don’t want too much traffic, I want people to walk," she said.

On Monday , club president Mike Weber indicated that the vision plans seen by the public last Thursday will soon be viewable on the club’s website www.woodhavencc.ca

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