Protect Our Parks
City Planning documents - 25-year Vision for Major Open Space will result in a cumulative loss of public parkland Read more below...
EPC meeting Wed Nov 20, 2021 9:30 am -Agenda items 7 and 8
- Complete Communities Draft 2.0
- Major Open Space section of Complete Communities
- Map of Major Open Spaces
- City Planning documents on Janaury 20 EPC agenda include policy enabling development of public parkland (Major Open Space) that would be cumulative over 25-year duration of Plan
- A plan is needed for protecting Major Open Space that increases and protects Winnipeg's greenspace and natural areas instead of decreasing it
- Winnipeg has not invested in a Master Plan for Greenspace, as other cities have, that would support informed decision making.
25-year Vision for Major Open Space will result in a cumulative loss of parkland
Map credit - City of Winnipeg Complete Communities 2.0 Draft
Major Open Space (Complete Communities p. 119)
Enabling language supports development on public greenspace
When greenspace is gone, it is gone forever
- Map of Major Open Spaces
- Read Major Open Space Section of Complete Committees 2.0 Draft, p. 119 - 124
Master Plan for Greenspace
A Master Plan for Greenspace is a holistic, multi disciplinary plan that includes all greenspace and bluespace in the city, both public and private. A plan crosses city departments and provides coordination among partners. Greenspace includes parks, natural areas, urban forest, river corridors, water features where ever they may be located. Plans can extend into surrounding municipalities and rural areas as greenspace and river corridors do not stop at boundaries. A Master Plan contains many component sub plans.
Without a master plan for Greenspace, the City is losing many potential green corridors and parks, bit by bit.
Edmonton’s plan looks at policies from all levels of government, stakeholders, funding, population health, environment, ecology, climate adaption, biodiversity, waste management, risk mitigation, food production, aesthetic value, heritage and more. It contains four pages that list all the plans used for guidance from Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments that provide guidance for their Greenspace plan.
Winnipeg is in the process of developing a Parks Strategy, a Recreation Strategy, Urban Forest Strategy and tree bylaw. It takes time to build the foundation for a master plan and cities like Edmonton and Toronto have been working on theirs for decades. Winnipeg has barely begun.
Other cities have Master Plans for Greenspace and component plans to guide decision making.
- “Breathe” has four pages of policies and plans from Federal, Provincial and City levels of governments that guide it, plans have been evolving over 20 years. Has pages of stakeholders, funding plan, etc
- Ecology, Wellness and Connection
- Wildlife Passages and Engineering Design Guidelines for river corridors
- Parkland Strategy four functions: Ecology; Sport + Play; Community; and Health + Wellbeing.
- Wild Connected and Diverse Biodiversity Plan
- Resilience Strategy
- Greenest City
- Nature in the City
- Mapping software to determine where parks most need to be added
- Regional Tree Canopy Cover and Impervious Surfaces
- Stormwater Source Control Design Guidelines 2012 supports wetlands
Development on MOS will reduce Winnipeg’s Greenspace and Tree Canopy
- 6% of Winnipeg's total city area is public park land, compared to average of Canadian cities at 9%. (2020 Park People Report)
- Golf course lands (1% of total city area) could increase total area to 7%
- Public Major Open Space makes up over 3% of city's public park land and development on it will
Public Greenspace/ Private Development
- If approved this plan will enable the conversion of publicly owned greenspace to private development. Cites need to keep public spaces
Climate Change, Urban Heat Islands, Cool Spaces
- Winnipeg is third highest among Major Canadian cities forecast to experience higher summer temperatures.
- Planning for a hotter future requires greenspace planning
- Research has shown that large green spaces provide the greatest cooling benefits for hot summer days and river corridors provide cooling refuge for people and wildlife.
- Planting trees and other vegetation mitigates the Urban Heat Island Effect by lowering surface and air temperatures
Public Health Benefits
- The Government of Canada has identified extreme heat as a significant public health issue in Canada.
- In addition to reducing temperatures, the presence of green spaces such as parks, trees, and natural vegetation and water features has been linked to a number of additional health benefits. These include better mental and physical health, overall well-being and a longer life, cardiac and blood pressure benefits.
- Municipal budgets for greenspace must go up. It is such a small share of the budget compared to the health benefits provided
Children and Nature
- Particularly important for children to be exposed to nature
- Encyclopedia of Early Childhood development http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/outdoor-play/introduction
- Outdoor Play http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/outdoor-play/according-experts
More Greenspace Required not Less
- Winnipeg 's growing population and denser neighbourhoods will need more greenspace to catch up to Canadian average
- Our existing parks will to a great extent become the “backyards” and “front yards” of residents in denser neighbourhoods. Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk Urban Forest Resources U. of B. C
Urban Parks are Essential Infrastructure
- Urban parks are not luxuries, they are part of the basic physical structure of cities
- As cities grow and densify, mayors, planners and civic leaders are looking at parks to help them address pressing urban infrastructure challenges from storm water management and flood prevention to reducing public health costs to economic revitalization and job growth
Winnipeg does not have a Biodiversity Plan
- Biodiversity is essential to the health and livability of cities and cities have an important role to play in protecting and enhancing biodiversity
- Large and interconnected spaces are crucial to the conservation of biodiversity
- Winnipeg has 36% natural areas in public parks, compared to average for Canadian cities at 44%.
- Should meet or exceed national and global targets for natural area protection
- Federal target to protect natural terrestrial areas is 25% by 2025 and 30% by 2030
- Having a Biodiversity Plan like Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton should be a priority Implementation item in the Plan
Waterways Need Protection
- River corridors and their water need protection. They are a precious resource for a River City
- Four rivers and three creeks continue into surrounding municipalities
- In the current Plan, riverbanks are associated with development, NOT clean water, recreation, ecology, natural areas or habitat
- Require policy to include riparian areas and their water as natural assets and ecosystems and provide for their protection
- Studies have shown that a much wider buffer along waterways than currently exists is required for ecosystem protection. Improve health of riparian areas and their water by adopting the Provincial Planning Regulations that require at least a 30-meter buffer for development along riverbanks.
- Based on existing development within the urban Seine River watershed, it is likely that impervious surfaces already surpass the 30 per cent threshold. The river shows signs of degradation, low water table, and drying up.
- Edmonton has a report called Wildlife Passage Engineering Design Guidelines for river corridors
Special Charter Protection for Parkland
- Parkland (park zoned) has special protection from development in the Winnipeg Charter, Clause(1)(d) -
Winnipeg has a 100 plus year legacy of visioning and altruistic intentions for its parks, through tough times and good as parks, large and small, were added throughout the city and beyond city limits to provide services and comforts deemed necessary for its growing population.
In recent times parks have been threatened as too costly, too many, better uses can be found . Budget solution to sell and develop on park land.
- 1893 - Winnipeg Public Parks Board first met in 1893 to acquire, improve and maintain public parks. The provision of public parks were to improve housing and sanitation and reduce the threat of infectious disease. Recognized were the economic value of beautification, the need for fair access to recreation and the need to counter the deleterious effects of urbanization on the working classes.
- 1904 -1906 Assinboine Park was designed by Frederick Gage Todd, Canada's first professional landscape architect at a time when the idea of naturalistic open space in Canadian cities was popularized. In Oct 2020 the Government of Canada designated Todd as a person of national historic significance for his contribution to Canadian park planning.
- 1921 -1982 The City-owned golf courses were created between 1921 and 1982 by seven different Mayors with Mayor Stephan Juba creating three. Kildonan GC was created shortly after the first WW. Three of the golf course were created during the Great Depression in the thirties.
- 1961 - Parks became part of the new Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg’s legacy.
One of the initial pledges made by Metro was to add 1,000 acres of parkland by acquiring land in and around urban areas. The goal was exceeded.
Parks to emerge from this period include La Barriere, Little Mountain, John Blumberg and its golf course, Maple Grove, Bonnycastle, and King’s Park.
- 2006 - City was forced to back down on proposal to put Condos in Assinboine Park
- 2011 - 2013 Attempts made to sell or develop seven of the city-owned golf courses. Public push back caused the plan to be halted.
- 2013 - John Blumberg Golf Course, part of the Headingly recreation complex declared surplus.
- 2020 - Repurposing 30% of Golf Lands Strategy and Transformative Fund (dispense revenue from city owned real estate declared surplus)
- 2020 City Planning document's 25-year vision enables development on Major Open Space (Winnipeg's largest parks which make up half of all city-owned greenspace).
- 2021 - Kildonan Golf Course will celebrate its 100th anniversary.