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This article was published 27/1/2015 (2454 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It may be the end of the road, but two local councillors are hoping it could be the beginning of something.
Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) and Coun. Janice Lukes (St. Norbert) have been speaking to The Lance about prospective recreation uses for the six acres of green space at the foot of Dakota Street at Aldgate Road, where Dakota ends.
Mayes said the land is a "right of way" for Dakota to be extended to the Perimeter Highway in the future, based on the continued development of the neighbourhood, so nothing permanent can be built on the land, but he is open to discussing potential leisure options, such as toboggan berms, a pleasure rink or an area for biking — if it’s the right fit for the community.
"We’re asking ourselves ‘is there some of this land we can use?’ The road extension, of course, may never be built or it could be built in 20 years. We have to start thinking about this green space."
A motion was passed at the Dec. 1 Riel community committee meeting to request a report by the city’s public works department and the matter will now go before the infrastructure and public works committee, of which Lukes is chair, on Feb. 10, Mayes said.
"We hope to get a report back in 90 days and to hold a public town hall meeting in south St. Vital on the issue sometime after that, likely in May or June," he said.
Curiously, the green space is divided down the middle between the St. Vital and St. Norbert wards, which is why both councillors have a vested interest in the issue.
Noting her suggestion of a community garden for the space, Lukes said the "most important aspect of this idea is to ask the community what they think would work for them."
"If, and it is a big if, the community wants us to move forward on opening up the space for everyone to use, there are countless possibilities. Being from St. Norbert, and originally from the country, I see an opportunity for a community garden, where kids can come to learn to grow things like veggies and flowers and learn where their food comes from, which would be great," Lukes said.
"We have a school very close by offering sporting and playground facilities, so all the more reason to see if there is an interest in gardening, in my opinion. We ripped up part of our backyard so one of our 12-year-old sons could grow giant pumpkins. What he has learned through this experience is priceless. If the community wants to move forward on this space, then let’s hear the ideas."
To add context to the discussion, Mayes highlighted a joint venture that was approved before Lukes and himself were elected, which is now being built and populated.
"Over the next few years, there will be hundreds of new houses built south of Aldgate between St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s. This is the River Park South joint venture involving the city and Qualico," Mayes said.
"Many of these houses will include families with kids. It was seeing these new houses start to appear, such as on Twickenham Circle, that made me think we should look at capitalizing the green space south of Dakota."
Simon Fuller is the reporter/photographer for The Lance. Canstar’s senior reporter, he joined the team in June 2009 to write for The Sou’wester, which was then the new paper in the Canstar family.