Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
On June 8, Save Our Seine joined city councillors Matt Allard (St. Boniface) and Brian Mayes (St. Vital) and Bike Winnipeg’s Mark Cohoe) at the official opening of the new Fermor Tunnel.
This was a day to celebrate. The tunnel allows people to walk or ride safely under Fermor Avenue. Just east of the tunnel, new trails under the refurbished bridge allow deer, other wildlife, and people to cross under the bridge and access the river. The new tunnel and river trails will enhance movement along the Seine River corridor.
Canada’s history was built around its rivers. Indigenous people, voyageurs, fur traders, and European settlers used rivers to travel across the vast Canadian landscape. In Manitoba, people travelled on the rivers using canoes or paddlewheel steamboats to carry heavy goods.
They walked and drove carts on muddy trails beside rivers. The rivers were transportation corridors that belonged to everyone.
The long lot settlement pattern recognized the need for public movement along rivers. The land along the river’s edge was considered to be "common land." During the development of our city, we lost sight of this history. We overlooked the value of rivers as travel corridors. We built roads, bridges, and buildings that now limit public access and block movement along river corridors.
Save Our Seine’s goal is to enhance the Seine River as natural corridor for wildlife, active transportation, recreation, and tourism. The dream is to create a continuous trail from the Red River to the floodway.
Today, disconnected trail fragments along the Seine River are interrupted by significant barriers. Fermor Avenue was one barrier. Highway 100 is another.
Thanks to another transportation project, Highway 100 will not remain an obstacle. As part of a massive 25-year project to improve traffic flow and safety along the south perimeter, the province has agreed to replace the box culvert over the Seine River.
This culvert is too narrow for the river channel. It is often blocked by debris or beaver dams that prevent canoes from passing. Terrestrial wildlife must walk or swim through the culvert or cross the busy highway.
The new culvert will have room for a riverside trail. Just imagine, people will be able to walk, bike, or canoe along the river between Royalwood and Vermette. Deer will have a way to move safely under the highway.
Although the timeline for the culvert replacement is still uncertain, we are already counting the days.
Michele Kading is a community correspondent for St. Vital and the executive director of Save Our Seine.
St. Vital community correspondent
Michele Kading is a community correspondent for St. Vital.
Updated on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 at 11:57 AM CDT: Highway 100 culvert will provide access to Vermette, not St. Norbert.
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