As discussed on the History of the Community Centre page, development began on the property in 1996, with the construction of the main building and initial (west) hockey pen. Various versions of the original 1986 Site Development Plan were developed, with concepts including a baseball diamond at the north end of the property, tennis courts and access from Cloverwood at the centre of the property. Community surveys were initiated in 2001 to solicit input from residents on site development. Several open houses were also organized to further facilitate community input. Based on discussions and feedback the first soccer field was installed in 2002 and the new hockey pen was also installed at this time, as well as a gravel path along west property line.
From 2002-2007 approximately $500,000 was invested in developing the site, including a second soccer field, the Cloverwood entrance and parking lot, the play structure area, and grading, sodding and tree planting. The basketball court was funded by the WMBA by the WRCC submitting a winning application to this organization.
In 2007 the Interpretive Trail concept was initiated, and details can be found on the Whyte Ridge Interpretive Trail page. In general, the concept was to install an interpretive trail involving a pathway, native prairie plantings and interpretive signage. In 2009 and 2010 the initial phase of the plan was implemented, involving a pathway and seeding with native prairie. In addition, a “butterfly garden” was established at the south entrance to the path. Unfortunately the butterfly garden became overgrown with weeds and the second phase of the interpretive trail was not completed.
The most recent phase of the landscaping plan was initiated in 2014 and consisted of the following elements:
- Installing new native trees;
- Installing new native shrubs/saplings;
- Establishing a new “butterfly garden” and repairing the weed-filled bed near Fleetwood;
- Establishing a new area of native prairie grasses and maintaining the existing prairie area;
- Tidying up the existing limestone pathway and constructing an extension to the new butterfly garden;
- Creating a resting spot on the pathway where we’ll install some interpretive signs; and
- Installing new benches.
Installing Native Trees
In 2014 the City installed 16 new trees and removed and replaced some trees that had died from the previous phase of the project. Most of the new trees installed by the City were elm trees. Elm trees have historic value and Winnipeg reportedly has one of the largest populations of American elm trees in North America – primarily due to several decades of effort to control the spread of Dutch elm disease. Many of the older streets in Winnipeg are lined with elm trees. While the intent at the Community Centre is to use native species, in this case the City advised that “discovery elm” would be used rather than American elm. Discovery elm is a non-native hybrid of American elm, resistant to Dutch elm disease. Hopefully this compromise is acceptable and over the years the trees, lined up along the west pathway, will grow to an impressive 20 m high with a 10-20 m spread and be reminiscent of this historic relationship between the elm and Winnipeg’s streets.
Based on advice by the City of Winnipeg Forestry Technical Services the following native species were installed: skyfast cottonwood, American basswood, bur oak, white spruce, silver cloud maple, Lord Selkirk sugar maple, and fallgold black ash. Locations included the following:
- 6-7 trees on the west side of property along Cloverwood fence line – extending the new trees currently being installed by the City (elm species);
- 2-3 trees on the east side of property – at the centre line of north soccer field;
- 3 trees on the NE corner of property;
- 2-3 trees to the north-centre of the property – eventually screening the To-le-do building;
- 2-3 trees on the NW corner of property; and
- 3 trees to the west of the west hockey pen.
Installing Native Shrubs/Saplings
The City of Winnipeg agreed to supply 150 shrubs/saplings consisting of the following native species: Manitoba maple, green ash, bur oak, chokecherry, pincherry, buffaloberry, dogwood, snowberry. These were installed in areas immediately surrounding the trees as natural understorey, in an effort to naturalize the perimeter areas of the property. The WRCC intends on requesting more saplings from the City in 2019 to further naturalize the north end of the property.
Establishing New Butterfly Garden
The Site Development Master plan included the establishment of a feature “butterfly garden” located in the centre of the property. The location provides a sheltered spot that should protect butterflies from the wind. The plan involved installing plants such milkweed species, Canadian goldenrod, black-eyed susan, common yarrow, phlox, asters, coneflowers, blazingstar, sage, stonecrop, lilacs and joe-pye weed to attract butterflies and provide food and habitat.
Establishing an Area of Native Prairie Grasses
As indicated, from 2008-2009 an initial phase of native prairie grasses was installed, from the south east end of the property along the east fence line. The initial year was used to prepare the site and included active weed control to make sure that the site did not become infested with perennial weeds, and erosion control with temporary cover-crop. This was continued in the second year, which also included initial seeding of native grasses.
Based on a spring 2014 site inspection by the City Naturalist it appeared that the native grass installation was successful and the grasses were still present. The next phase involved extending the area of prairie grasses further north, along the eastern side of the property, in another two-year program. In the fall of 2014 the new area to the north (from the east fence line to centre line of north soccer field) was roto-tilled and the soil was amended with peat, and then seeded in the spring of 2015.
In 2019 the plan is to complete a final phase of prairie installation, surrounding the path connecting the east side of the property to the butterfly garden.
Constructing Pathway Extensions
The extensions and areas are primarily associated with the new butterfly garden and consist of a segment extending south from the trail bisecting the centre of the property, passing between the two beds proposed for this location. In addition, all of the existing pathways were updated by treating the overgrowing vegetation and adding a layer of crushed limestone. The plan also involved widening of the path at about the mid-point of the property to create the resting spot/node for one of the benches and interpretive signage. Details are discussed on the Interpretive Trail page.
One bench would be installed around the central node on the property on the east side as the trail turns to the northwest from the east fence line, and another bench was installed at the new butterfly garden.
Site Development Director
Other Community Centre Development Options
The Board is open to any suggestions for improving the Community Centre facility. If you have ideas please submit a comment under the Contact Us page.
While we don’t currently have a Fundraising Director (hint, hint), based on research there are at lease 21 possible grant sources, including 15 for landscaping, three for programming and three for capital projects. Other sources could involve a Community fundraising campaign (as has been done in the past) and searches for private investment sources.
Prior to applying for funding there is a need to identify/list and prioritize projects first and the Board makes an effort to involve transparency and communication with Community Members who in effect have provided the funding and will benefit from any investment. This involves the use of the website, Spirit newsletter, and Community meetings/workshops. Please stay tuned for more information, and we look forward to any assistance you can provide.
Site Development Director