Monday, January 30, 2012

Bridge in St. Vital still Just an Idea

South Winnipeg residents are already passionately airing their concerns about a proposed footbridge connecting St. Vital to the University of Manitoba.  

Kelsey Cram, a law student at the University of Manitoba, attended a heated community meeting on the issue January 26.

Cram said main concerns were people parking in St. Vital to use the bridge on Bomber game days and the potential loss of community gardens at St. Amant, which is one of the areas identified for a crossing by the MMM Group who is doing consultations for the city.

“I hope people can stay open minded about the benefits to the people in the community and that there are things we can do to reduce any negative impacts,” said Cram.

Justin Swandel, councillor for St. Norbert, proposed a footbridge in 2008.

“The plans are still in the consulting stage,” said Swandel.

The Lance reported there is no money in the budget to build a bridge according to St. Vital Councillor Brian Mayes.

According to the agenda from the meeting, there are five possible locations for a crossing: St. Amant, Minnetonka School, Henteleff Park, across the river from the former Southwood Golf and Country Club and across the river from King’s Park.

Nancy Cooke, the spokesperson for the Minnetonka Residents Association, which held the meeting, said it’s “important to have people be part of the planning process.”

Kayla Cruickshank, a student at the University of Manitoba, thinks a footbridge could improve transportation to the University of Manitoba.

“It will help the people living in the area like me who can see their building across the river in a five minute walk and avoid 20 minutes of unnecessary traffic every morning and spending money on gas and parking. I also think it will actually decongest the traffic that is already going down University Crescent, which is so annoying. It might also help the parking issues the university has,” said Cruickshank.

Public interactive displays will be held February 8 at Dakota Community Centre and February 9 at the University of Manitoba from 4 to 8 p.m. by the MMM Group and the city.

Kenn Rosin, project manager with the City of Winnipeg public works department, said people will have the chance to give their opinions on how south St. Vital can be connected to the University of Manitoba, including the possibility of a closed in gondola that would transport people across the river.

“We want the input of as many people as possible. The idea is still on a very conceptual level,” said Rosin.

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