FortWhyte Alive to add Buffalo Crossing


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Exciting development plans are finally being implemented at the south end of FortWhyte Alive, a place many Whyte Ridge residents and families have visited to enjoy a slice of nature in an urban setting.

More than 110 years ago, activities at the site of today’s FortWhyte Alive facility sparked initial development in southwest Winnipeg. Workers at the then-new Canada Cement Company brought families and built homes that have since become part of the Whyte Ridge subdivision.

The interest in waterfowl and nature of several Canada Cement employees eventually resulted in the official opening of the Fort Whyte facility in 1974, and site development has continued to provide more opportunities for environmental education and outdoor recreation purposes. The opening of the south side of the property in about 2006 gave Whyte Ridge residents direct access to the seven kilometres of walking and biking interpretive trail network, which now connects to Whyte Ridge via an Interpretive trail running through the community centre site.

Supplied image

An artist’s rendering of FortWhyte Alive’s new Buffalo Crossing centre, which is slated to open in 2024.

I have been tracking the rumours of new development at the south end of the property, and with the recent announcement, I was able to chat about the plans with Ian Barnett, FortWhyte’s vice-president. Ian confirmed that construction is underway off McGillivray Boulevard, and a new entrance has been established approximately 50 metres further west from the former location. The entrance will involve controlled access and be expanded to include a large parking lot and traffic loop, and discussions are underway to have a permanent Winnipeg Transit stop.

The key feature will be the new, 18,000-square-foot Buffalo Crossing facility, a two-storey building that will include a small gift shop, large spaces on the main floor for nature-related programming activities and rental space on the second floor for meetings and formal events. Ian said the building incorporates a state-of-the-art, climate-resilient design that meets the passive house certification standard, making it the first commercial building in Manitoba to earn this energy-efficiency designation.

The building and access to the site to the north will be via a new pedestrian bridge over Muir Lake, and work is underway to revitalize and restore the wetlands and trail network. Ian said that the emphasis is to enhance year-round education and recreation opportunities, and an official opening is scheduled for February 2024. He said FortWhyte Alive is working with the city to establish a safe crossing site over McGillivray Boulevard.

Nick Barnes

Nick Barnes
Whyte Ridge community correspondent

Nick Barnes is a community correspondent for Whyte Ridge.

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