Public reserve spaces such as parks and trail networks are invaluable assets to communities and provide immeasurable health benefits to residents. They promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging people to enjoy the outdoors to connect with nature and neighbours. They also accommodate safe transportation alternatives and support access to free exercise whether it’s walking, jogging or cycling to name a few.
Having a home that backs onto a public reserve can be quite scenic. Homeowners can look out their windows to enjoy the naturalized areas that are usually incorporated along trails, parks and wetlands. Native grasses and plants provide valuable habitat and food sources to local wildlife while also helping to clean our air and watershed.
Unfortunately, these beautiful parks and trails can be easily damaged when homeowners hire contractors who use them to access backyards to make improvements. Equipment that is not specialized to maintain their upkeep can destroy the earth and limestone trails, leaving ruts and tire tracks behind. Other activities such as draining pool water into these spaces can contaminate the soil for plants and erode the limestone trails.
If homeowners need a contractor to cross a boulevard, trail, park or any other public reserve space, they must apply for permits through the City of Winnipeg. Doing so without permits, is a violation of the City’s bylaws. Usually homeowners will require two permits: a boulevard crossing permit and a park crossing permit. A refundable deposit is then taken once the permits are granted and returned in full if no damage is present after the project’s completion or approved restoration. Permits protect these green spaces as they are very expensive to repair if damaged.
If you are a homeowner who is planning any backyard renovations that require access through a public reserve such as a trail or park, please be sure to get permits. Also, please be mindful and avoid running anything out from the backyard into a greenspace.
Many residents have a deep pride of ownership for their neighbourhood. If you see any suspicious activity, please have a respectful conversation with that neighbour. However, if this is not feasible or you don’t feel comfortable speaking to them, please use 311 to anonymously report any concerns. It’s crucial to preserve all the wonderful features that make our neighbourhood enjoyable for current and future residents.