New Assiniboine River platform, path to replace unsafe dock and 'goat trail'

Winnipeg plans to build a new dock and switchback river access path to replace the unsafe wooden structure and "goat trail" on the south bank of the Assiniboine River at Osborne Street.

Park in Osborne Village to receive new removable dock, permanent platform and river access trail

The City of Winnipeg plans to replace this floating dock with a permanent structure along the Assiniboine River. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

Winnipeg plans to build a new dock and switchback river access path to replace the unsafe wooden structure and "goat trail" on the south bank of the Assiniboine River at Osborne Street.

The city is looking for a firm to design a new river access path, viewing platform and removable boat dock at Gerald James Lynch Park, a scrubby patch of city-owned land in Osborne Village, east of the Osborne Street Bridge.

The existing dock, completed in 2004, is no longer safe to use or install, according to a request for proposals to redevelop the waterfront along the park.

"The dock has not been installed for several years due to the deteriorating condition of the dock structure, widely fluctuating river levels and the significant operating requirements for its installation and removal, which include the need for a crane and dive team," the request for proposals states.

"In addition to providing neighbourhood water bus access, there is also a desire by recreational boaters to use this dock for visiting Osborne Village. The site is also used for river viewing, shore fishing as well as winter access to the Assiniboine River trail."​

The city also wants to improve lighting in the park to create a river access point that feels safe to pedestrians, said Jason Bell, who manages parks projects for the City of Winnipeg.

"It should start making people feel comfortable about using that space again," he said in an interview Tuesday, describing the existing docks as unsafe to deploy and the access path as "goat trail" that's too steep for people with mobility issues.

"What we want to do is get a river viewing platform and boat docking facility, and we want something that's going to be accessible to folks of all abilities and serve us throughout the whole year," he said.

"We have a collection of old wooden docks that are no longer safe to use and a very steep and tired-looking trail that leads down to the river."

While engineering and landscape achitecture work on the park upgrades could be complete this year, construction on the space won't begin until 2019. The city has earmarked $1.2 million for the job in next year's capital budget.

James Gerald Lynch Park also includes a piece of machinery salvaged from the old Osborne Street Lift Bridge. According to the Manitoba Historical Society, the park commemorates "a long-time resident of the River Osborne area, who, along with others, worked to preserve this community."