Local dog owners and other regular users of Little Mountain Park are invited to discuss ways to improve the park at a meeting set up by Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital).
The meeting is scheduled on Thurs., May 29 at 7 p.m. in the Sir William Stephenson Library (765 Keewatin St.).
Situated within the RM of Rosser, the 160-acre park is located on Farmer Avenue just off Route 90, and is owned by the City of Winnipeg. Mayes calls it "an orphan" as it’s not part of any Winnipeg ward.
In his role as chair of the Mayor’s Environment Advisory Council, Mayes realized that no other councillor was taking responsibility for the park, meaning it hasn’t been receiving funding through any councillor’s ward budget, so he decided to step in.
Mayes said, from his point-of-view, the purpose of the meeting is to get budget ideas from the park’s users.
He used Maple Grove Park, an off-the-lease dog park in south St. Vital and within his ward, as an example of how the relationship between pet owners and the City normally works. Mayes said the park’s dog owners group has requested and received municipal grants for improvements in the past. However, Little Mountain Park users haven’t been able to follow the same process.
"There’s nowhere for them to go because there’s no ward councillor," Mayes said.
He said discussion at the meeting will be focused on project ideas, and isn’t a chance to do any long-term planning for Little Mountain Park, because the city has already conducted this type of exercise for all its parks.
One of Little Mountain Park Dog Club’s founders, Kristy Greening, welcomes the chance to meet with Mayes and talk about improvements.
"Without having a councillor, it’s been extremely tough dealing with the city, having to call 311," she said.
"The trails are in terrible shape. They’re a sloppy mess this time of year," Greening said.
Lloyd Johnson has used the park for dog walking since the mid-1990s and maintains the Little Mountain Park Pet Owners Association’s website www.lmppoa.ca
His main goal is to ensure the park is protected from development.
"I guess my biggest hope is to protect our valuable green space. We have such precious little of it. You look at other cities and they would kill to have something like LMP right outside their back door," he wrote in an email message.
CentrePort Canada vice-president of marketing and communications Riva Harrison said the organization was asked to provide a statement, to be presented at the meeting, confirming that CentrePort’s land use plan protects Little Mountain Park as green space.
"We support the park continuing to be protected as such," Harrison said. "We recognize that amenities like Little Mountain Park are important to the community."
Mayes said the RM of Rosser was also invited to send a representative to the meeting.