New Winakwa CC committee developing trail idea

Centre to host town hall event to gauge community feedback on Dec. 3

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When it comes to the betterment of the local community, the folks at Winakwa Community Centre like thinking on their feet. Now they’re hoping some community members will do the same.

Winakwa facility manager Darren Bishop said organizers and stakeholders at the Windsor Park-based centre (980 Winakwa Rd.) are looking at developing the greenspace south of the building with a half-kilometre walking path that will double as a skating trail during the winter months. The idea was put forward by the centre’s groundskeeper, and had also been talked about by the centre’s former facility manager, Dino Moran, who died in 2019.

A committee has been put together to develop ideas and blueprints for the trail. Bishop said the initiative has support from different levels of government and Louis Riel School Division — Collège Béliveau and Windsor Park Collegiate are both located across from the greenspace — and organizers are now asking people in the neighbourhood for their thoughts and ideas for the trail at this early stage in the process.

Photo by Simon Fuller

Crystal Poirier (left) and Darren Bishop are pictured at Winakwa Community Centre recently. Organizers and stakeholders at the centre are looking at developing the greenspace behind the building to the south with a half-kilometre walking path that will double as a skating trail during the winter months.

To gauge feedback, a town hall event will be held on Sat., Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon in the centre’s main hall.

“Dino used to talk about the idea of having some sort of path that could be used in the spring and summer, and iced over in the winter,” said Bishop, who was speaking on the same day as he was due to meet with an architect about the project.

“The more we talked about the idea with our groundskeeper, the more we liked it, and we brought it to the board. We envision a skating trail across the ball diamond, which will tie it all together. Now, we want to get the community’s perspective.”

Crystal Poirier, a board member at the centre who is also on the new committee, said collaboration will play a key part in the process as the project develops and evolves.

“We want to be interactive. What ideas does the community have? There’s also the potential for a covered structure, such as a picnic area. We have lots of our own ideas, but we’d like more feedback from people in the neighbourhood. We’re looking for fresh perspectives,” Poirier said.

Poirier noted that parts of Windsor Park are home to a relatively high number of individuals living on modest incomes or who are new to Canada, many of whom may not know about the community centre and what it has to offer.

“The centre is free, and lots of people don’t necessarily understand what the centre is for,” Poirier said.

“I think COVID has taught us that we desperately need more outdoor space to gather, and we need to utilize the space we have the best we can.”

Bishop said the finished project would stand to enhance the existing greenspace in any number of ways.

“For example, I can visualize people walking their dogs or kids riding their bikes with grandma. I see this a huge win for the community. Plus, we’re here on site, so we can maintain it. And the more the community is involved, the more it takes pride,” he said.

The greenspace also includes a community garden and an orchard, as well as a seasonal off-leash dog park, which was started last year and is located in what is one of the centre’s two fenced-in ice rinks during the year’s warmest months.

Go online at winakwacc.ca to learn more about the centre.

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at simon.fuller@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7111.

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