The City of Selkirk has a unique opportunity to begin developing its second regional park and naturally wants to hear from future users of the space.
A survey is available now and the city is asking for input into what people want to see in the park.
The city has three park categories – neighbourhood, meant for users within walking distance, community, meant for all citizens of Selkirk, and regional, meant to serve the needs of Selkirk residents and also attract non-residents within the region with people arriving on foot, bike or by car. Selkirk Park is currently the only regional park in the city and the second, the West End Regional Park, will be located south of Manitoba Avenue behind the Walmart Supercentre and Selkirk GM dealer, east of Hwy. 9
90 acres of naturalized park space
The city’s intention for the West End Park, which will be just under 90 acres is size, is that it will be a more naturalized space.
“What we’ve established as a vision for the West End Park is that it won’t have program space, but will be more self-directed and nature based, self-guided programming as opposed to organized programming,” said Brady Clark, Director of Culture, Recreation and Green Transportation.
“The idea is that people will go there for passive recreation, whether that’s walking or biking or skiing or paddling and we’ll be establishing natural grasses and flowers that have been removed from the area or died off and returning some of the space to its natural state.”
Built to meet the needs of users
The city is developing a park management plan for the new park to better meet the needs of users and ensure the city has a plan to afford both the costs of capital investments as well as operating and maintenance costs.
Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol says the West End Regional Park will be developed over time. Park Management Plans are 10-year plans, he said, and they help the city budget and dedicate the necessary resources to that specific park.
“This is not a park that’s going to get built quickly,” Nicol said.
“This will roll out over time and the park management plan will set that timeline along with levels of service and what monies have to be invested. We know this park isn’t going to have a swimming pool or a splash pad, it’s not that kind of park. The survey will give participants options of what they would enjoy in a more natural space and over the next couple of years as that area gets developed more, we’ll start shaping the park and restoring tracks of that area to natural spaces.”
Limited use of the lands
The part of the proposed park that borders Hwy. 9 is located in the Winnipeg/Selkirk Corridor and construction cannot occur in that space, which is currently reserved for a potential highway expansion that includes a major intersection at Manitoba Avenue. A nuisance grounds and quarry make up some of the remaining space, again, making construction of buildings or other permanent infrastructure a non-starter. The quarry has in recent years been used as a staging ground for construction waste.
Facilitating the next 30-50 years of growth in Selkirk
The land is part of a 326.5-acre parcel the city purchased in 2019, the largest land purchase ever by the city. It was done with great foresight and an aim to taking the development reigns firmly in hand and steering the city in the direction the city wants to go in.
The city’s Community Strategic Plan calls for the city to take firmer control of its economic destiny, and the land will facilitate the next 30 to 50 years of growth in the city. In 2020 the city approved the West End Concept Plan to ensure development in the area aligns with its Strategic Plan.
The Concept Plan calls for 5,000 new housing units and includes a mixed-use urban village along with the 90-acres of park space and a 1.5km long water feature.
The water feature will be a storm water retention pond that will give the city greater capacity to manage storm water.
“The storm water retention pond aligns with our Climate Adaptation Strategy and so it will serve a dual purpose, managing storm water and be available for multi-seasonal recreational purposes,” Nicol said.
The significance of a second regional park in the city can’t be understated, Nicol says.
“It’s not every day that a new regional park gets constructed. We only have one in all of Selkirk’s history and that’s Selkirk Park,” Nicol said.
“This will be the second and we have an opportunity to help shape the thinking around this new park.”
The survey is available online now through April 12. Paper copies are available at the Civic Office located at 200 Eaton Ave. Open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm.