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One of every 10 Winnipeg parks in poor or very poor condition: report

More than $53 million required to upgrade system of 1,200 neighbourhood, community, regional spaces

The wading pool at Weston Park along Logan Avenue. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

The wading pool at Weston Park along Logan Avenue. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/4/2017 (918 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/4/2017 (918 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Ten per cent of Winnipeg’s parks are in poor or very poor condition and overall the entire park system needs an infusion of more than $53 million.

Those findings are included in a comprehensive review, which will be presented to a civic committee Tuesday morning.

There are more than 1,200 neighbourhood, community and regional parks in Winnipeg. The report breaks down the deficiencies, in buildings and equipment, by ward and by individual park.

On a ward basis, the parks in the worst condition were found in St. James-Brooklands-Weston, in which 13 per cent are in poor or very poor condition.

At the other end of the scale, 52 per cent of the parks in Transcona are identified as very good or good condition, top marks among all civic wards.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>The swings in the Golden Gate Park by the Sturgeon Heights Community Centre.</p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The swings in the Golden Gate Park by the Sturgeon Heights Community Centre.

The report’s findings don’t surprise St. James Coun. Scott Gillingham, who said one of his election campaign commitments was to invest more in parks.

"I’m not surprised by what the report says," Gillingham said. "I’ve been very intentional about investing in parks in the ward."

Each councillor has about $200,000 annually to invest in parks in their wards and Gillingham said his strategy has been to target one or two parks each year, rather than spread the funding around.

"I’ve concentrated the investment in bigger parks or parks that have been in poor condition," Gillingham said, citing Campion Park on William Avenue, which was renovated and got new play equipment in 2015.

Overall, the report found 81 per cent of the city's parks are in fair, good or very good condition, eight per cent are poor and two per cent are rated very poor. Nine per cent of the parks haven't yet been reviewed.

The release of the report marks the first time city hall has assessed the condition of its parks and compiled the findings into a single document. Similar reports are to be done on an annual basis.

Brooklyn Street Park has been identified as a park in poor condition. The small park has a slide, swing set, teeter-totters, a picnic table and a climbing structure, all with chipped paint and rust. (Jen Doerksen / Winnipeg Free Press)</p>

Brooklyn Street Park has been identified as a park in poor condition. The small park has a slide, swing set, teeter-totters, a picnic table and a climbing structure, all with chipped paint and rust. (Jen Doerksen / Winnipeg Free Press)

Gillingham, chairman of council’s finance committee, said having such assessments on civic infrastructure is crucial for planning purposes.

"It’s important we have an understanding of the conditions of our assets so we can make strategic investments," he said.

The report didn't meet the expectations of Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt, who said there isn't enough specific information to prioritize needed investments.

Wyatt said the original direction to administration was for a report providing the location and size of each park, its condition and an estimate of the amount needed for necessary upgrades.

"We waited a year-and-a-half for this report and while it provides a great deal of information, we don't have the specific data we requested and what we need to prioritize our spending," Wyatt said.

Some findings of the report can be misleading unless read carefully. As an example, the wards singled out for having the most costly deficiencies were Mynarski ($9.9 million) and North Kildonan ($5.3 million), but those amounts include needed improvements to large, regional parks within those wards — Kildonan Park in Mynarski; and the Kil-Cona/Harbourview complex in North Kildonan.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

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.

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History

Updated on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 3:56 PM CDT: Ads photo

3:57 PM: Adds photo

4:24 PM: Adds photos. fixes embed code.

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