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Not so dandy: weeds overrun North End park

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North End residents say dandelions have choked out families and children from using Boyd Park since spring.

MATT PREPROST Enlarge Image

North End residents say dandelions have choked out families and children from using Boyd Park since spring. Photo Store

North End residents are looking for answers to why a dandelion invasion has been allowed to choke out a popular community park.

Residents along Boyd and College avenues say they have yet to see the fields at Boyd Park mowed since the spring melt, which has allowed thousands of dandelions to take root and grow more than foot in height across the field.

"The space is for kids to play and it’s not really helping," said College Avenue resident Chau Do.

"I don’t think any parent would let their kid play in that field."

Do, who has lived on College since 1999, said the park is a popular spot for area families and their kids. Her family organizes family soccer matches at the park about three times a month, but says they haven’t been able to use the field yet this year.

Darren Pangman, a Boyd Avenue resident, said he usually takes his dog to play in the park.

"I haven’t been in a while," Pangman said.

"It looks pretty terrible."

Dandelions haven’t just choked out the field at the park, either, which is home to a playground and the Burrows Resource Centre. The weeds have also been growing freely in what looks to be a row of community gardens behind the centre and along the boulevards enveloping the park, nestled between Radford and Sgt. Tommy Prince streets.

The Burrows Resource Centre was closed Wednesday afternoon. Calls for comment were not immediately returned.

A sign left on the door noted spin softball at the centre was cancelled and told kids to come back the evening of Mon., June 17.

"It doesn’t look good that way, especially for a community centre," said Boyd Avenue resident Luigi Fiore, who said he has yet to see crews out tending to the field this year.

"It looks like nobody takes care."

If private residents must mow city boulevards or face fines, the city should be keeping its end of the bargain and keeping city parks accessible, Fiore said.

According to the City of Winnipeg, the city pays the Sinclair Park Community Club, located nearby at 490 Sinclair St., to mow and maintain the park.

"The community centre has been responsible for maintaining these fields for a number of years," said spokesperson Tammy Melesko, noting the funding is part of the Sweat Equity Program under the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres.

"The city will be contacting the community centre about mowing the property."

Skylar Travers, groundskeeper at Sinclair, says he and his two staff only work part time have their work cut out for them.

The trio is responsible for not only maintaining the three fields and five baseball diamonds at Sinclair, but two fields at Robertson Park behind Robertson School as well as the fields at Boyd, he said.

"We try to make it everywhere," Travers said, noting the crew works three to four times a week, and alternate taking on roles cleaning the club itself.

"It’s just been so busy lately with winter just ending. There was a bunch of garbage everywhere. We’re just starting to catch up now."

On Wednesday afternoon, Travers said he planned to get to Boyd Park on Thursday. He said crews were last there two weeks ago to cut the fields and the boulevards.

"We try to get to it once every week," he said.

Travers said dandelions have not traditionally been a problem at the park.

According to Melesko, the city relies on mowing for weed control and maintains a small herbicide program for targeted areas.

"The city would still consider weed control measures at this location, however, the control program would not be considered until later this year," Melesko said.

Do said she has cleaned up garbage at the park’s playground at least once while her daughter has been playing.

"It’s not our job, but I don’t mind," she said.

 

matt.preprost@canstarnews.com

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