Selkirk residents will be able to make their way to the shops and restaurants of West Manitoba with ease later this summer when the city completes Phase 1 of the Manitoba Avenue Active Pathway.
Work has already begun on the 2.1 km stretch of the pathway that runs along the north side of Manitoba Avenue from Mercy Street west to the last Selkirk Crossing entrance.
Selkirk’s Director of Operations, Dan McDermid, said the Active Pathway will be 3.5 metres wide and allow plenty of space for those who want to walk, run, wheel, cycle or any other non-motorized means of transportation.
“We’re enhancing recreational benefits for the citizens of Selkirk with the hard surfaced asphalt pathway, which will provide a safe way for people to go from the residential and downtown areas to the commercial district,” McDermid said.
“People will have the ability to actively travel down Manitoba Avenue from Mercy Street west without having to cross the street to access a sidewalk.”
Active living safe more convenient
Currently, those walking or riding along Manitoba Avenue have to cross the street twice between Mercy and the west shops to be able to access a sidewalk the entire way.
Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol said besides providing an opportunity to get active, the pathway helps the city in its commitment to reducing greenhouse gasses across the entire community. By creating infrastructure that allows people to walk or cycle safely, people will be encouraged to leave the car at home whenever possible.
“The Manitoba Avenue Active Pathway will be accessible to everyone and will make it safer and more enjoyable for people to get outside and walk in the City of Selkirk,” Nicol said.
“If we can get a few people to walk to the stores on West Manitoba instead of driving then it’s a win for the city and a win for the environment. Even if the pathway just gets families and friends out walking or cycling with no specific destination in mind, we’ve achieved some of our goals as far as the environment is concerned and as far as recreation is concerned.”
Phase 1 completed this fall
In Phase 1, the pathway, along with benches and lighting, will be installed. Landscaping, which will include flowers, trees and shrubs will complete the first phase, which is expected to take four months.
This phase of the pathway will be cost shared by the City of Selkirk and the Federal and Provincial governments, with each partner committing 33 1/3 per cent under the Small Communities Fund. Cost of the project is $475,000.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that providing people with accessible active transportation options is key to developing greener and more inclusive communities,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “We are proud to support this paved multi-use pathway, which will give everyone in Selkirk more opportunity to stay active and enjoy the outdoors while moving around the city.”
“Projects like this make our communities more accessible, encourage healthy lifestyles and provide environmental benefits,” said Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton. “The province is pleased to partner with the City of Selkirk and the federal government on the path on Manitoba Avenue. Investments in active transportation make our neighbourhoods better places to live, work and play.”
Connecting our community
Future phases will eventually connect the complete active transportation and sidewalk network, as laid out in the Manitoba Avenue Detailed Design Plan. The city established the Manitoba Avenue Task Force in 2009 and, following studies and public consultation, the Manitoba Avenue Detailed Design Staging Plan was adopted by council in October 2016. The document revealed the vision for Manitoba Avenue and the timeline that upgrades and improvements will occur. The plan addresses work related to the street, sidewalks, pathways and sewer and water.
Deputy Mayor Kelly Cook said the pathway connects to the city’s Strategic Plan that makes environmental stewardship a priority and calls for more environmentally responsible development and enabling citizens to make good choices. Priority 1 of the plan is to create a vibrant, safe and healthy community by providing the best possible recreation opportunities for Selkirk residents.