If you want to shoot hoops, put racket to birdie or cruise around Selkirk’s active transportation network on two wheels, your first stop should be the city’s equipment lending program at the at the Kin Centre.
The Kin hosts a sport court that is open daily, weather permitting, from 9am to 9pm this summer for all to enjoy. There’s also an equipment library on site that’s currently open Wednesday to Sunday from Noon to 7pm with a 30 minute closure from 3:30-4:00. The city hopes to extend these hours once school is out.
Megan Lamirande, the city’s Program Coordinator, says the equipment library featuring sports equipment like basketball and soccer balls along with a myriad of other equipment has added 12 mountain bikes this year.
“We’re happy to encourage citizens to get outdoors and be active and the new bikes will allow everyone the chance to explore the city from their bike seat,” she said.
“We have active transportation pathways and getting from Manitoba Avenue at the west end all the way to Selkirk Park on a bike is safe and fun and now available to people who do not own their own bicycle.”
The bikes come in adult and child sizes, but you must be 18 to loan one out, so those under 18 need an adult with them. You need to present photo ID, which stays at the lending library until the bike is returned, and fill out a lending form.
“Once they fill out the form and leave their ID with our staff, they’re good to go. They can have the bikes for a maximum of four hours,” she said.
Helmets are mandatory, and the city has some for loan, though they recommend bringing your own if possible.
Recreation is for everyone
Councillor Lorie Fiddler says making equipment available to everyone levels the playing field.
“Sports and recreation equipment are out of reach for many people’s budgets. Others would like to try before they buy. This lending program takes it up to a new level,” Fiddler said.
“We want to remove the barriers from participating or trying something new, by providing equipment for sport and rec. This encourages a healthy active lifestyle for our community.”
The bikes align with the city’s Community Strategic Plan in several ways, including making Selkirk a vibrant, safe and healthy community by providing the best possible recreation opportunities for residents and being environmental stewards by protecting natural features and improving city practices and services to help citizens make good choices.
Last year the city applied for and received $30,000 in funding through the Healthy Communities Initiative, a $31 million investment from the Government of Canada to support communities as they create and adapt public spaces to respond to the new realities of COVID-19.
Selkirk’s application proposed an upgrade to the existing and under-utilized Kin Centre and Outdoor Rink (ODR) through the creation of a sport court in the centrally located ODR at the Kin Centre.
Basketball hoops were installed and lines painted for that sport as well as pickleball, and the equipment library is stocked with tons of recreation equipment and games.
There’s a long list of equipment available, including pickleball nets, paddles and balls, ladder golf, disc golf, corn hole, giant Jenga, Spikeball and so much more all for free. Other than bikes, the equipment must remain at the Sport Court or adjacent Water Tower Park.
Anyone aged 12 and up can check-out equipment on their own with a MB Health card or other ID including an address. Youth ages 11 and under must have a guardian check-out equipment for them.
You can also bring your own sports equipment if you like.
The equipment library is staffed in part by volunteers from the city’s Youth Leadership program, which encourages local youth to get involved in their community and initiate youth led initiatives. Young people choose an area of interest they would like to focus on and several of them chose to work with the equipment library alongside staff.
“Promoting youth leadership and making investments into our community’s human and social capital builds productivity, empowerment and productive members of society” said the city’s CAO Duane Nicol.
“Our Youth Leadership Program combines leadership training, teamwork, self-management and volunteering that will help build the confidence and connections that will ultimately lead to a more sustainable future. We are helping to inspire and grow our next community leaders.”
More free programming includes Summer Play Zone
The city is also bringing back its summer play zone for kids from grades K-6. Starting July 4, Play Zone runs Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Kin Centre until the end of August. It’s free of charge.
“We build new skills with movement and sensory based activities, games and other learning based programming,” Lamirande said.
“It’s a two-hour program, the first session is a morning session from 10am to noon and the second is from 1pm to 3pm.”
Registration is required a week in advance and can be done online. Kids should come with a water bottle, outdoor shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.