Manitoba

'We haven't been given what we were promised': Voters say Waverley West lacks community amenities

Winnipeg's newest electoral ward is booming with young families — but some voters in Waverley West say it lacks community amenities and recreation services.

Janice Lukes has been acclaimed as councillor for the city's newest ward

A dispute between the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Housing made headlines this summer when a Bridgwater Lakes spray pad was shut down. Some Waverley West residents say they feel their new development doesn't have enough recreational facilities and amenities. (Submitted by Janice Lukes)

Winnipeg's newest electoral ward is booming with young families — but some voters in Waverley West say it lacks community amenities and recreation services.

"There's no community centre, no organized sports teams, no hockey rink, no schools," said James Villa, 38.

"The list goes on," he says.

The new south Winnipeg ward was created in one of the city's fastest-growing areas after a city commission set new boundaries for this year, essentially cutting in half the massive South Winnipeg-St. Norbert ward (which previously had a population of  68,112 — 45 per cent larger than the average for the city's wards).

'I feel like right now, we don't really have the community resources that families are looking for,' says Waverley West voter James Villa. 'I think we are underserved.' (Jenn Walker/CBC)

And residents already know who their councillor will be, even ahead of the Oct. 24 election. Coun. Janice Lukes, who currently represents the South Winnipeg-St. Norbert ward, was acclaimed in Waverley West, as no other candidates registered to run there in the 2018 election. 

Villa lives in Bridgwater Lakes and coaches a community soccer team for kids under six. The team was started by families in the neighbourhood to compensate for the lack of organized sports, he says.

"I feel like right now, we don't really have the community resources that families are looking for," says Villa. "I think we are underserved."

Spray pad shut down

A dispute between the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Housing made headlines this summer when the Water Bend Park spray pad in Bridgwater Lakes was shut down. 

In a Sept. 17 re-election campaign announcement, Brian Bowman promised an extra $4 million for a $30-million recreational facility in the ward, adding to $7.2 million already budgeted by the city.

The lack of amenities doesn't just affect residents with young children. Randall Loster, 29, lives on Park West Drive in Bridgwater Lakes with his partner. 

The new Waverley West ward was created in one of the city's fastest-growing areas. (CBC)

They previously lived in the Weston area, and moved to the south end three years ago for the promise of a new, unique community.

Loster recalls seeing project plans for trendy, New Orleans-style condos for the area. Boutiques and cafes would be on the main level, with residential spaces above. Instead, he said there's an abundance of major-chain stores in lieu of boutiques.

"We haven't been given what we were promised," said Loster.

Winnipeggers will vote for mayor and councillors in 15 city wards on Oct. 24, 2018. (CBC)

More CBC Manitoba election ward profiles:

Journalism students from Red River College's creative communications program have prepared profiles of each city of Winnipeg ward ahead of the 2018 civic election for CBC Manitoba. Read all of our election 2018 coverage here.

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