Whyte Ridge community correspondent
Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.
Recent articles of Nick Barnes
There was some great news recently for Whyte Ridge residents wanting to cross McGillivray Boulevard.
Over the past few decades, residential and commercial development has resulted in increased traffic that has made it increasingly difficult to turn left from Brady Road and access the south entrance of FortWhyte Alive.
In addition to the stress and delay of waiting for a break in traffic to cross, the situation has become an increasing safety hazard. In a recent chat, Waverley West city councillor Janice Lukes confirmed that measures are moving forward to deal with this issue, starting next year.
In addition to a new set of traffic lights being installed at the South Landing industrial park (about 1.5 kilometres to the west of Brady Road), a new set of lights is being installed on McGillivray at McCreary Road.
The Whyte Ridge Community Centre is going through a transition.
It often happens with volunteer organizations, every four or five years. New board members join and inject fresh enthusiasm and ideas and reshape things, and if they’re lucky and plan well, they develop momentum and attract more new members and enjoy success and accomplishments for several years.
However, over time, work, children and dozens of other commitments make it tougher to maintain the momentum. Enthusiasm wanes, board members leave, and the small core group that remains faces increasing stress in trying to keep things going. This final phase is much more real for many community centre boards as a result of COVID-19, particularly when some board members are struggling to manage their own businesses during this time.
The core purpose of community centres is to bring the community together to share positive sports and recreation experiences. For the past year or so this has largely not been possible. Several have managed to maintain some outdoor programming, but for many, the doors have been closed to most residents. For larger community centres that rely on indoor programming to pay the bills, this has been particularly hard. Recent further restrictions have reduced some of the outdoor programming. Whyte Ridge Community Centre has not had the scale of issue as the large community centres have had, but it has been challenging.
I was cleaning out a closet recently and came across the Jan. 1, 2000 issue of the Winnipeg Free Press. Skimming through the articles. I found it hard to believe that some of these events occurred 20 years ago.
It seems the older I get the quicker time seems to pass. Weeks, months and years just seem to fly by. I looked into this concept and there’s actually a fair amount of literature available. The most common theory is that when we’re young we’re bombarded by new experiences — lots of “firsts,” whereas when we’re older we’re typically structured into familiar routines with much less happening on a regular basis. It seems that fewer events to recall means that we have fewer memory bookmarks to track the passage of time.
If you’re still interested after that depressing news, here’s how things looked 20 years ago:
In January, 2000, global economies were breathing a sigh of relief that there was no Y2K computer bug that would shut everything down. Gary Doer’s NDP party had recently taken over from Gary Filmon’s Conservatives. Russian President Boris Yeltsin had just “resigned,” paving the way for Vladimir Putin to take over. Winnipeg’s main hockey team, the Manitoba Moose, beat the Utah Grizzlies 3-2 in overtime, and movies playing at the cinema included Toy Story 2 and The Green Mile.
Since taking on the job of community correspondent, I’ve always tried to write about topics that relate to our area. I’ve been carrying a few ideas around to write about, but with what has now become so central to our daily lives, it’s difficult to write about most topics and I feel a need to share my thoughts about the pandemic that we’re all experiencing.Some news media can sensationalize events but in this case it’s tough to downplay the facts. We’re constantly bombarded with bleak prospects, theories and rumours, and it’s hard not to become emotionally overwhelmed by it all. There’s no denying that these are worrying times, and we’re experiencing profound changes to our community.Outside of the family, the community is the basic building block that forms the foundation of society. Events over the past month or so serve to remind us of how fragile this structure is — the rules and policies that facilitate efficient co-operation among large groups of people. Sports, music, religion — even eating — have all evolved to allow us to enjoy life together. School, jobs and money have evolved to help us do this better.And now, for a while, those things are gone — or drastically altered — and many of us find ourselves at home with our families trying to restructure things until we get through this.I’m really struggling with the term “social distancing.” I understand the importance of physical distancing during this period but I really hope it doesn’t further erode how we interact in the long term. I’ve written previously how the use of technology has massively reshaped society over the past few decades. This includes more efficient modes of transportation that can take us (and our medical conditions) from one end of the world to another in less than a day, but it also includes modes of communication that don’t require us to be face to face. While I’ve expressed concerns about some of the downsides of communication technology, it’s at times like these that we can be so grateful for them. While physically separated we can, in most cases, stay socially connected. Many workplaces and school curricula have taken advantage of communication technology to help cope with home-based life, and it provides an essential way to stay connected with family and friends — particularly those who are more vulnerable or directly impacted. It’s likely that some of these changes will be long-term, and some possibly permanent.However, I’m confident we’ll get through this period, and I look forward to when we can get back to a place where we can enjoy each other in the same space — in churches, arenas, restaurants and community centres. I hope you and your family remain safe and healthy during this difficult time.Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.
Since taking on the job of community correspondent, I’ve always tried to write about topics that relate to our area. I’ve been carrying a few ideas around to write about, but with what has now become so central to our daily lives, it’s difficult to write about most topics and I feel a need to share my thoughts about the pandemic that we’re all experiencing.
Some news media can sensationalize events but in this case it’s tough to downplay the facts. We’re constantly bombarded with bleak prospects, theories and rumours, and it’s hard not to become emotionally overwhelmed by it all. There’s no denying that these are worrying times, and we’re experiencing profound changes to our community.
Outside of the family, the community is the basic building block that forms the foundation of society. Events over the past month or so serve to remind us of how fragile this structure is — the rules and policies that facilitate efficient co-operation among large groups of people. Sports, music, religion — even eating — have all evolved to allow us to enjoy life together. School, jobs and money have evolved to help us do this better.
Over the Christmas break I attended several social events at which there was lots of laughter.
Chatting about it later, I began wondering how we evolved to make this weird, spontaneous (sometimes embarrassing) staccato sound, often involving gasping for breath and tears.
It seems that laughter has always been a part of communities around the world, despite the development of sophisticated language and cultural differences, and babies often begin laughing when they’re just a few months old.
It turns out there’s a fair amount of psychological, neurological and philosophical research into laughing, much of which is attributed to Dr. Robert Provine’s research at the University of Maryland, and his book Laughter: a Scientific Investigation.
I wrote about Christmas a few years ago, but it’s so intertwined with community and family that it’s worthy of a second look. As I described previously, its origins are a blend of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ with the more secular celebration of winter solstice and optimism for the year to come. I don’t know about you, but we still mail Christmas cards to out-of-town friends and family. The internet provides lots of digital options but it’s still nice to open a paper card. And even though our children are adults, they still get a chocolate-filled Advent calendar to count down the days. I really think it’s children who make Christmas so magical — from both a religious and family perspective. Recreating the excitement that I experienced as a child with my young children was fantastic. From Christmas eve singing Christmas carols at church to laying out cookies for Santa and carrots for Rudolf, and that look of joy on their faces as we came down to the pre-dawn glow of Christmas tree lights to open gifts. In addition to the important religious event, I think what’s made Christmas so enduring, even spreading to non-Christian countries over the past few decades, is a recognition of the need to slow down and spend time with the family, especially as life becomes even more fast-paced. The Christmas season usually includes the gathering of families at schools to listen to Christmas concerts, and at various community events. This year in Whyte Ridge, Henry G. Izatt Middle School had its Christmas concert on Dec. 5, and the elementary school held its concerts from Dec. 17 to 19.At Whyte Ridge Community Centre, the winter carnival isn’t until Jan. 19 but I’m guessing the Dec. 8 movie night screening of Arthur Christmas got families in the Christmas mood.St. Gianna’s Roman Catholic Church and the Whyte Ridge Baptist Church will both be celebrating Christmas, of course, and the Baptist Christmas Choir has been rehearsing since November for a mini concert on Dec. 22. FortWhyte Alive had a Breakfast with Santa event on Dec. 14 and, starting on Boxing Day, will host several Frosty Family Fun Days until Jan. 3, including snowshoeing, snow taffy, marshmallow roast, and ice bowling. I’m also guessing there’ll be family tobogganing on the hill by the elementary school, and skating at the community centre, sources of very fond family memories.Whether you’re attending a church service, a community event, or a family dinner, this season is all about slowing down, sharing happy experiences and maybe remembering past events. I wish you good tidings of comfort and joy over the holiday season!Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.
I wrote about Christmas a few years ago, but it’s so intertwined with community and family that it’s worthy of a second look.
As I described previously, its origins are a blend of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ with the more secular celebration of winter solstice and optimism for the year to come.
I don’t know about you, but we still mail Christmas cards to out-of-town friends and family. The internet provides lots of digital options but it’s still nice to open a paper card. And even though our children are adults, they still get a chocolate-filled Advent calendar to count down the days.
Well, after a September with temperatures in the high 20s it looks like we’re back to a typical fall with rain and single digit temperatures. It seems every summer there are more pelicans, cormorants and loons feeding in the Whyte Ridge retention ponds, a sign of healthy fish populations.
As city councillor Janice Lukes (Waverley West) notes on her website, janicelukes.ca, our retention ponds are part of an earlier design phase, with ponds in newer subdivisions such as Bridgwater having a more natural wetland design. However, despite the less natural design of our ponds, they continue to provide habitat for a variety of natural species.
Speaking of open spaces and parks, preparations are being made for the next round of public sessions on Winnipeg Recreation and Parks Strategies. This was the initiative to update plans developed about a decade ago to guide programs and services, including investment in existing and new infrastructure.
Progress is being made on developing the South Winnipeg recreational campus in Waverley West. On her website, Coun. Lukes reports that the City is working with the federal and provincial governments to secure funding for the recreation campus, and if the project is deemed a priority by council, the City will apply for that funding in October. As the earlier version of the plan called for expansion of the Whyte Ridge Community Centre, it will be interesting to see if that commitment will be retained.
I was looking at Coun. Janice Lukes’ website recently — janicelukes.ca — and it had some useful information on several City of Winnipeg bylaws.
I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of the rules we should be aware of that affect life in Whyte Ridge.
Coun. Lukes (Waverley West) had noted that the City is piloting a new process to enforce the bylaw that covers homeowners’ responsibilities regarding maintaining vegetation on their properties.
You’re required to keep plants and vegetation trimmed so they aren’t unsightly, and grass must be kept trimmed to a maximum length of 15 cm (six inches). If a neighbour complains to the City about your long grass, you have seven days to mow it after an inspector formally notifies you, and it could result in a fine of $150 to $250 (on your property tax bill), depending on your responsiveness.