History of the Community Centre
A detailed history of the Whyte Ridge area can be found in the Community History link on this website. Prior to the establishment of the Community Centre, community events and issues were initially addressed by a Whyte Ridge Residents’ Association, which was formed in 1988. In the early 1990s the City determined that the area needed a community centre and initial plans were for a large multiplex facility located beside the Whyte Ridge Elementary School and serving the needs of both Whyte Ridge and Linden Woods. However, there was considerable debate about an appropriate location, with an alternate site near the current Linden Ridge area also being considered. After lengthy dialogue with residents, the City eventually decided to create two smaller community centres, with the Linden Woods facility being a satellite of the older Victoria community centre and the Whyte Ridge facility being a satellite of the Westridge Community Centre, located further east closer to Pembina Highway. Initially a parcel of green space in the Cloverwood area had been identified for the new Whyte Ridge facility, but negotiations with the nearby cement plant resulted in the purchase of the current site off Fleetwood, freeing up the area further west for subdivision development. On March 3, 1992 the Westridge Community Centre was incorporated and effective April 1 1992 commenced operations under the name Westridge Community Centre.
In 1996 the main building and initial (west) hockey pen were constructed (initial plans called for a basement, but the high water table precluded the development of this component) and a new joint Westridge-Whyte Ridge Community Centre Board of Directors was formed. Since a number of Westridge Board members had moved to Whyte Ridge, it was a relatively smooth transition.
In 2001 initial efforts were made to examine ways to expand the volunteer base and get more facilities and activities organized. One area of discussion was the facility and the other was the management of activities, as it was generally recognized that there was considerable overlap in the mandates of the Community Centre and the Residents’ Association, with both being involved in sports and recreation activities.
In terms of facilities, the original 1986 Site Development Plan was updated in 2001 with the City and the first Whyte Ridge community questionnaire was developed to solicit input from residents on site development. Several open houses were also organized to further facilitate community input. The first soccer field was installed at the Whyte Ridge site and the new hockey pen was also installed at this time, as well as upgrades to the hockey pen at the Westridge site.
In terms of management, in 2002, after the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres (GCWCC) delivered a critical review of the Community Centre Constitution requiring major revisions, a document entitled “Proposed Changes to the Management of Whyte Ridge Community Affairs” was developed and submitted to the City, GCWCC and boards of the Community Centre and Residents’ Association. The proposal called for the transfer of all sports and recreation responsibilities to the Community Centre in cooperation with the City, with the Residents’ Association mandate being focused on an advocacy role for residents on contentious community issues with the City such as zoning, speeding vehicles, etc. There was also considerable debate about splitting the Whyte Ridge and Westridge sites, but the City’s strong mandate at this time was that separation was not an option. A new Constitution was developed to reflect the amalgamated mandate of the Community Centre and Residents’ Association.
In 2006 more focused efforts began on examining the feasibility of a separation of the Westridge and Whyte Ridge community centres, including a June meeting with GCWCC staff and representatives of the joint Board. As indicated, when the Fleetwood site was built the Board was dominated by Westridge residents, but this changed in 2001 with Whyte Ridge Residents having more Board positions. Efforts were made to ensure that both sites had a sufficient volunteer base to be managed effectively before separation, and the Community had an opportunity to comment. After several years of discussions with GCWCC and several community open houses the separation was finalized in January 2008 and in April 2008 each location had separate annual general meetings and new constitutions.
With the grounds/landscaping being largely complete, development plans moved to the Community Centre building. The concept of building expansion has been discussed by the Board of Directors since 2000, but the initial priorities were developing the grounds so residents could participate in outdoor sports and recreation activities. However, as grounds were being developed, the increase in community population created an increased desire to develop more indoor space, highlighted in feedback received from ongoing community surveys. In response to this need the Board developed the scope for a building expansion feasibility study in 2014 and in July of that year retained an architectural company to assess the existing facility and develop concepts in a feasibility report. Based on research and two community workshops, the feasibility study confirmed the need for building expansion. A $5.2 Million preferred option was selected that will meet the existing and future needs of the Whyte Ridge Community and a Business Plan was developed that demonstrated the needs and quantified the increased revenue generating capacity. Details can be found in the Site Development/Building Expansion link on this website.