Dog owners fear losing park to economic development

Some dog owners in Winnipeg are worried about the future of the off-leash area at Little Mountain Park, as CentrePort plans to extend Chief Peguis Trail through the area.

Little Mountain Park an 'orphan,' has no voice at Winnipeg's city hall

Winnipeg dog owners fear losing park to development

10 years ago
Duration 1:47
A group of Winnipeg dog owners are worried about the fate of Little Mountain Park after plans were revealed for nearby development that would run directly through it. CBC’s Leslie McLaren reports.

Kristy Greening says the red flags about Little Mountain Park's future went up last summer, when new signage appeared showing an off-leash area smaller than dog owners thought they had.

"So we started to do some research and we came across CentrePort's plan to take Chief Peguis Trail right through the off-leash section, which would eliminate the park as we know it," she said.

Construction projects virtually surround Little Mountain Park, located inside an area slated for industrial development. (CBC)

Terry Brown said industrial development surrounds the park as it is.

"Construction from Klimpke Road, there's no longer access from Inkster," he said.

"There's all kinds of construction going on to the east of us, with the heavy trucks and the big warehouses there. I think that there's plans to redo Jefferson Avenue. I'm seriously concerned about the future of the park."

Greening and others have put together a petition, asking the city to save Little Mountain. She said about 1,000 people signed it within two weeks.

But while the park belongs to the city, it's not actually located in Winnipeg. It's in the Rural Municipality of Rosser. Since it's not in a city ward, it has no councillor.

Greening said the group asked for help from the councillor in the closest city ward, Devi Sharma of Old Kildonan, but they were turned down flat.

"We were told that we should call 311," Greening said.

Sharma told CBC News she has no record of that call.

Park is an 'orphan'

Greening said the group then turned to St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes through a personal connection.

Mayes said he doesn't blame the group for being concerned that the park has no defender at city hall.

"This is kind of an orphan that's out there that doesn't get maybe the same attention as other parks," said Mayes, who took the petition to the city's infrastructure committee.

'CentrePort's plan … would eliminate the park as we know it.'—Kristy Greening

Mayes said right now, there are no plans on the books to extend the Chief Peguis Trail past Route 90.

But a map on CentrePort's website shows the northwest corner of the park will be trimmed when the extension is built.

CentrePort spokesperson Riva Harrison said right now, development is planned around the existing green space.

Greening said roads and other infrastructure for CentrePort are being built much more quickly than people expected, and the park has lost space recently to private development on the east side.

In fact, a map on the website for the Brookside Business Park shows the Chief Peguis Trail extension will actually cut right through the park.

The agent for that development, Robert Scaletta, an independent agent for Shindico, said the information for the map came from the province.

He said the business park land is actually owned by a private investor in Alberta.

Mayes said Little Mountain Park should be assigned to a councillor who can go to bat for it.

"It wouldn't be assigned presumably to me, and so my budget doesn't get spread a little thinner," he said.

"But I do think … it should be assigned to some councillor just to make sure that things get dealt with there."

Sharma told CBC News she wants to help and is urging the group to call her.

Greening said a membership drive is planned for next month at Little Mountain to show the city the depth of local support for the park.

"I don't know that the city realizes how many people are out using this park every single day," she said. "We just want a say in the future."

In this CentrePort map, the proposed Chief Peguis Trail extension is shown cutting into the northwest corner of Little Mountain Park. (CentrePort)