Omand Park only viable place in Wolseley for permanent Assiniboine River access, study says

As the winter recreation season comes to a close, the City of Winnipeg is looking at more ways to allow access to the Assiniboine River in the future.

A new study of potential sites to build permanent pedestrian access to the Assiniboine in the Wolseley neighbourhood has found Omand Park to be the only viable location.

Winnipeg’s urban planning division studied eight locations along Wolseley Avenue and Palmerston Avenue for the creation of a permanent river access.

Riverbank engineer Kendall Thiessen determined Omand Park is the only site that is connected to existing Winnipeg bike and pedestrian paths and is large enough to build a ramp without having to destroy a swath of riverbottom forest.

The park also has a slope gentle enough to allow its existing paths to be upgraded to allow everyone — including people who use wheelchairs — to reach the river, Thiessen notes in a report to city council’s water and waste, riverbank management and environment committee.

“While the path connections to the Omand’s Creek bridge were constructed prior to the adoption of current accessibility design standards, the average grades along the path to the west are close to the current design standards, and upgrades to the path could be undertaken to satisfy the standards with moderate landscape impacts,” Thiessen writes.

Omand Park is the only one of eight potential sites that has cyclists and people walking through the park.

“It has the greatest visibility from the street to the river and through the whole area. This is a potential deterrent to unwanted activity and possibly a benefit with respect to public safety,” Thiessen adds.

The report also found river access is “technically viable” at the Robert A. Steen Memorial Community Centre on Palmerston Avenue, but the site limitations would place the cost of river access at up to $1 million.

The report rejected river access at Arlington Street, Canora Street, Aubrey Street, Dominion Street, Clifton Street and Greenwood Park because the sites are too small and would require too much forest to be destroyed.

The report will be presented to the city council committee at its meeting next Monday.

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