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This article was published 8/4/2019 (688 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In a time when we are all trying to make our families and kids feel safer, we must ask: what steps do we need to make our communities feel whole again?
I have two young children and they are so impressionable these days. I can already see them copying my habits, repeating some of my most common sayings and even mimicking my movements. As I watch them grow older, wiser, and begin to understand what is happening around them, I feel the need to be a positive influence in their lives and show them, through my own actions, how to be kind, thoughtful and enthusiastic Winnipeggers.
I love our city — it’s always been my home. I want to inspire my children, and yours, to fall in love with Winnipeg, like I have, so that they want to stay and make their lives here.
For our kids, often their first experience with city services is through sports and recreation programming. I am a big believer in keeping our children busy. Whether it’s involving them in an after-school or Leisure Guide program, sports, dancing, music lessons or whatever a family can afford. As both a mother and city councillor, I know as the cost of living goes up, so do the fees.
With so many young families immigrating to Canada, it is absolutely wonderful to see so many different cultures living in mature neighbourhoods in the Point Douglas Ward, such as Weston/Brooklands, Meadows West, Tyndall Park, Centennial, Exchange District, and so many more across the city.
But a lot of new families, both new and homegrown, simply cannot afford to put their children in soccer, for example, which costs roughly $1,000 a year or $300 to $500 a season, depending if you want to play recreationally or through a club. And soccer is one of the most affordable sports these days.
That’s where our Community Services Department comes in. The City of Winnipeg provides safe, fun, healthy and affordable core essential services year round that are much needed for building better, healthier and safer communities. Our libraries, playgrounds, parks and wading pools are wonderful places for families of all income levels to enjoy being outside and active.
But at what cost? Many of our community centres need redevelopment or repair. We have athletic fields that need some TLC. We have wading pools that are over 50 years old and are coming to the end of their service life. We have playground structures that need replacing. Lastly, we have empty green spaces that would be great to continue to develop, with new features like a plyometric monkey bar or parkour park.
I am passionate about investing in our communities to accomplish some, if not all of the above. But I also know that finding the funds to make it all happen, amid many other worthy competing civic priorities, will be challenging.
A key question we must answer, with input from you and city council is what is an acceptable, affordable and sustainable level of service for each type of facility? Should we reduce the number of aging wading pools in favour of a brand-new spray pad? For our community, could we consolidate the Walsall Park and Tyndall Park Community Centre wading pools to allow for a new spray pad at the community centre?
This is just one example of kind of conversations I want to have — I want to hear from you about where recreation services and facilities rank on your priority list.
What services or upgrades would you like to see at the community centres or civic hubs in your neighbourhood? Let’s start the conversation knowing we have a common goal: investing in our communities. Please share your thoughts and vision with me at 204-986-8401 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Point Douglas ward report
Vivian Santos is city councillor for Point Douglas.