Winnipeggers meet with councillors over 'orphan park'

Winnipeg dog owners and others who go to Little Mountain Park met with two councillors to speak up for the "orphan" city-run park that's actually outside city limits.

Little Mountain Park is a city-run park that's just outside city limits

A pair of Winnipeggers city councillors hosted a meeting about Little Mountain Park -- its needs, its future, and the threats of development. 2:05

Some Winnipeg dog owners and others who go to Little Mountain Park met with two councillors on Thursday night to speak up for the city-run park that's actually outside city limits.

Dubbed the "orphan park" by some, Little Mountain is one of 11 off-leash areas run by the City of Winnipeg, but it's in the Rural Municipality of Rosser.

Because the park doesn't belong in any city ward, it's not within the official jurisdiction of anyone on council.

So St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes and Old Kildonan Coun. Devi Sharma hosted a public meeting on Thursday to hear from those who use the park and want to see it protected and improved.

Park users mentioned simple issues such as the need for improved paths, opening the washrooms more often, and providing drinking water.

"Better maintenance, pick up the trash, keep the lawn good because if you go look on the paths, it's all muddy after a rainstorm," said Jas Saini, who was at the park on Thursday evening.

Some at the meeting said they've been doing maintenance work on the park themselves for years.

Overall, park users told the councillors that Little Mountain Park doesn't need a major makeover, but just a little care and maintenance by city staff.

Park's future questioned

Some, like Lloyd Johnson, also raised concerns that Little Mountain Park could someday be cut in half by a major road construction project.

"[Chief] Peguis Trail extension or CentrePort Way, whichever way you want to call it, cutting right through the middle of our park here," Johnson said, pointing at a map.

There has been no announcement of any such project, and Johnson acknowledged it could be decades before it happens, but he's convinced it's coming.

"If we don't address it now, make it public, make it out there, then it will be run over and the people will be looking at the bulldozers," he said.

Mayes said he does not know anything about plans for a major road, but he vowed to do whatever he can for those who love Little Mountain Park.

"I was surprised by a whole lot of what I heard, and that's part of why we had this meeting … to find out more about the park and its users and what their priorities were," Mayes said.