Kilcona Park’s Harbour View in need of major revamp
Kilcona Park is one of Winnipeg’s four regional parks and Harbour View was its crown jewel.
But lately some residents have found Harbour View more of an eyesore than a point of pride.
Earlier this month, Murray Greenley, a lifelong northeast Winnipeg resident, visited the Harbour View playground with his grandson. The visit left him frustrated and disappointed.
“Back in the day, it was a nice facility,” Greenley said. “The play structure is nice but when we walked to clubhouse area, everything is disgusting. The building is falling apart, literally. I couldn’t believe the disrepair. I’m going, ‘What the hell’s going on in Kilcona Park?’ This didn’t need to happen. This is lack of maintenance.”
Located to the east of Lagimodiere Boulevard, north of Springfield Road, Kilcona Park includes a nine-hole golf course, a disc golf course, dog park, hiking and cross-country ski trails, a ball diamond and soccer pitches. A new play structure was built in 2019, replacing one burnt down by arson in 2017.
Coun. Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) admits that the aging Harbour View site — which includes a pavilion, the pro-shop for the golf course, a man-made lake and docks — has fallen into disrepair.
“The Harbour View area was a really neat concept, a fishing village idea built in the early 1980s, but from the beginning there were some deficiencies about the site,” Browaty said. “There are a lot of people who love the park and still use the park. The grass is still getting cut, there are flowers in plazas. (But) there are significant issues with Harbour View site.”
Some of those deficiencies, Browaty noted, include parking and accessibility. The pavilion and dock site are also in need of major work if they are to be saved.
“Right now, the decks are wavy, the building is not being used and there was some flooding this year,” Browaty said. “The hope is to salvage what is there.”
Part of the problem, Browaty acknowledged, is that the park too often plays second fiddle to other quadrant parks, such as Kildonan Park or St. Vital Park.
“Because it is more isolated, it is more challenging and forgotten,” Browaty said. “There isn’t the money that other parks have. It really is our turn for Kilcona Park to come back on the radar.”
“Kilcona Park is sort of out of sight, out of mind,” Greenley agreed. “St. Vital Park gets money, Kildonan Park gets money, Assiniboine Park gets money. When I see that money pumped in, you can find millions for Kilcona.”
In 2014, a master plan was drafted for revitalizing the park. The plan called for major renovations to the Harbour View site, as well as improved amenities for the dog park, accessibility, and more. The price tag, however, came in between $25 and 30 million, not taking into account nearly a decade of inflation.
“The big problem is this is a quadrant park,” Browaty said, noting that other area councillors are also supportive of revitalizing the park, and have committed funds in the past. “Each member of council has discretionary funding. The funds we get are small compared to the needs of Kilcona. The $200 to 300 (thousand) each year doesn’t really tackle that.”
But Browaty, who chair’s the city’s finance committee, said he pushed hard for improvements to Kilcona in the 2022 budget.
“Now, the question is where do we start?” Browaty said. “It’s a of couple million, it’s not 25 or 30 (million).”
This year, Browaty confirmed, three kilometres of asphalt pathways near Springfield and Lagimodiere will be replaced, and engineering work completed regarding a future roadway through the park coming off McIvor Avenue will be completed, with hopes of putting the work up for tender for next construction season.
“There’s no shortage of need,” Browaty added.
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112