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This article was published 2/5/2019 (290 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Coun. Vivian Santos is making good on a pledge to fight for more dollars for Winnipeg's aging recreation facilities.
Santos wants city hall to spend $1 million annually converting old wading pools into new splash pads and building splash pads in new neighbourhoods.
"They’re accessible and cost-efficient, and I’d like to see more (splash pads) around the city," Santos said Thursday. "Doing an (annual) investment fund would definitely bring capital dollars to help throughout the city."
Santos is bringing a motion to the Lord Selkirk-West Kildonan community committee May 7, proposing the establishment of an annual $1-million capital fund be considered during the 2020 multiyear budgeting process.
Santos (Point Douglas) said the 81 wading pools across the city were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, adding most of them are nearing the end of their useful service life.
City council has a policy to replace wading pools with splash pads, she said, adding two that were constructed in her inner-city ward have been extremely popular.
"We’re always trying to find innovative ways to be cost-effective and we’ve been very successful with the last two that opened last year at Sgt. Tommy Prince (Place) and the Freight House (rec centre). The kids love it," she said.
When councillors were debating at their April meeting how best to use an unexpected $40 million from Ottawa this year, Santos argued some of the funds should be directed to replace the city’s aging recreational and leisure facilities. While she lost that debate (most of the money was directed to local street repairs), she said the city needs to reinvest in recreation infrastructure.
If her proposal is supported at the community committee, it would still need to be considered by one of council’s standing committees, the executive policy committee and, ultimately, council.
"I want to invest back into our communities," Santos said. "I’m hoping to get support from administration and council colleagues to implement a spray pad investment fund."
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.