Welcome to OURS-Winnipeg
Protect Our Parks
Protect Our Parks
- Winnipeg has 6% (of total city area) parkland, below average compared to the average for other major Canadian cities at 9% - (Winnipeg- 6%, Toronto - 13%, Montreal 12%, Calgary - 10%, Average - 9%) 2020 Parks People Report - https://ccpr.parkpeople.ca/#nav )
- Winnipeg has 36% natural areas in its parks - below average compared to the average for other Canadian cities at 44%.(Winnipeg - 36%, Toronto - 46%, Montreal - 39%, Calgary - 55%, Vancouver - 38%, Quebec City - 62%, Average - 44%)
- Adding golf course lands (1% of total city area) to parks would increase parkland to 7%, still below average compared to other major Canadian cities
- Development on Major Open Space would reduce Winnipeg’s below average amount of parkland further below average
OURS-Winnipeg has major concerns with the 2020 City of Winnipeg draft planning documents (OurWinnipeg 2045 and Complete Communities 2.0) related to development on "Major Open Space".
The Major Open Space section includes Winnipeg's largest parks, forests and golf lands. This section provides direction that enables unlimited development with permanent loss of publicly owned greenspace by identifying major open spaces as attractive for development and providing policy to enable it to happen.
Examples of Major Open Spaces (see map) are: Assinboine Forest, Bois des Esprit, Kildonan Golf Course, Kings Park, Crescent Drive Park, Whittier Park, Canoe Club Golf Course, Kilcona Park.
It is short sighted for the City to enable reduction of its greenspace while anticipating increases in population. Winnipeg should be increasing its public greenspace as it is significantly below average compared to other Canadian cities (see chart). (Winnipeg - 6%, Toronto - 13%, Montreal 12%, Calgary - 10%, Average - 9%)
The Major Open Space section identities natural areas however does not identify corresponding protection or planning for them. Winnipeg has a below average amount of natural areas within its parks compared to other Canadian cities (see chart). (Winnipeg - 36%, Toronto - 46%, Montreal - 39%, Calgary - 55%, Vancouver - 38%, Quebec City - 62%, Average -44% )
There are concerns with the lack of inclusive meaningful public engagement for the City's Major Open Space section. Plain language is not used making it difficult to understand.
Additional documents have been developed by the City over the past year to further support this policy - Transformative Fund, RE-purposing 30% of golf lands, and List of Not Required Services.
City Planning documents due to be approved in fall 2020 include policy enabling development of public parkland that would be cumulative over 25-year duration of Plan
Do not accept City Planning Documents that enable development on publicly owned greenspace and riparian areas
Remove language and policy from “Major Open Space” section that enables development. Provide a plan for protecting Major Open Space that increases Winnipeg's parkland instead of decreasing it.
2020 Winnipeg Draft Planning Documents - 25 year vision
1. OurWinnipeg 2045: Development Plan
2. Complete Communities 2.0:
1. OurWinnipeg 2045: Development Plan
2. Complete Communities 2.0:
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 p.120
Major Open Space (p. 118)-
Enabling language used for development on public greenspace in Major Open Space Section
When greenspace is gone, it is gone forever
- iView Map of Major Open Spaces
- Read OURS-Winnipeg Response to Planning Documents
- Read Major Open Space Section of Complete Committees 2.0 Draft, p. 118 - 123
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) increase total area to 7%
- Public Major Open Space makes up over 3% of city's public park land.
Public Greenspace/ Private Development
- If approved this plan will enable the conversion of publicly owned greenspace to private development
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 needs greenspace to be part of the plan
- 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
- 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.
More Greenspace Required, not Less
- Winnipeg 's growing population and denser neighbourhoods will need more greenspace not less
- Parks will become the backyards and front yards of residents
Urban Parks are Essential Infrastructure
- Urban parks an 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
- Biodiversity is essential to the health and livability of cities and cities have an important role to play in protecting and enhancing 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
- River corridors and their water need protection. They area 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.
- Winnipeg has a 100 plus year grand 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 those parks have been threatened as too costly, too many, better uses can be found . The usual solution to fix the City's problems is to develop on the park land .
- 1893 -The Winnipeg Public Parks Board first met on February 1, 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 parks in Canada.
- 1921 to 2021 The City owned golf courses were created between 1821 and 1982 by seven different Mayors and of these three were by Mayor Stephan Juba. Kildonan Golf Course will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021. It was created shortly after the first WW. Three of the golf course were created during the Great Depression in the thirties. During the Katz era attempts were made to sell or develop seven of the city-owned golf courses between 2011 and 2013. At this time John Blumberg, part of the Headingly recreation complex was declared surplus.
- 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
Parks to emerge from this period include La Barriere, Little Mountain, John Blumberg and its golf course, Maple Grove, Bonnycastle, and King’s Park. Improvements were made to winterize parks so they could be enjoyed all year round.
- 2006 City forced to back down on proposal for Condos for Assinboine Park
- 2011 - 2013 Expression of Interest to sell or develop on seven city-owned golf courses . Public push back caused the plan to be mostly halted.
- 2020 Repurposing of 30% of Golf Lands Strategy and Transformative Fund to dispense the revenue
- 2020 City Planning document's 25-year vision enables large development on Major Open Space; Winnipeg's largest parks which make up half of all city-owned greenspace.
The very idea that PR (park zoned) land is not intended for development is taken so seriously that our Winnipeg Charter States in clause(1)(d),
"no land owned by the city and used for park or cemetery purposes on the day this Act came into force or acquired after that date by the city for park or cemetery purposes may be disposed of without approval by a vote of 2/3 of all members of council requires a 2/3 vote to rezone".