How Much Green Space Is Enough?

Everyone agrees that green spaces enrich our lives. We all want to live and work close to a park or green space. Unfortunately, we don’t always agree on the definition of green space or how it should be used. Seniors may enjoy a patch of lawn with a flower garden, tree, and bench where they can sit in the sun or shade. Parents want sports fields and playgrounds for their kids. Cyclists and walkers prefer greenways that allow them to move safely around their neighbourhoods and the city. Apartment-dwellers may want a garden plot to grow their own vegetables. Dog owners crave places to exercise their dogs. Home buyers often want to live beside green spaces that will extend the look and feel of their own yards. Nature-lovers crave wild spaces – a forest, prairie, or wetland where they can experience serenity and the sights and sounds of wildlife without leaving the city.

Can these different needs be met to everyone’s satisfaction inside Winnipeg? We will see as the planning for Precinct K progresses. Precinct K lies south of Island Lakes and Royalwood. It is bounded by Lagimodiere (east), the Perimeter (south), and the Seine River (west). Planning for the development of this 547-acre parcel of land is in full swing. One issue that could be decided as early as April 7th relates to the amount and type of green space Precinct K will retain and where it will be located.

Precinct K cropped

Winnipeg requires at least 10% of the land proposed for development to be conveyed to the city for public purposes other than streets. Will the minimum amount of land dedication be enough to meet the diverse green space needs of the community without sacrificing the naturally and culturally significant lands along the Seine River? Or, should the amount be larger? Consider for a moment that the Bois-des-esprits Forest in Royalwood is 78 acres in size. Preserving this hidden gem required significantly more land than the minimum 10% land dedication. Will the plan for Precinct K call for the preservation of high-quality forest along the river plus enough upland for a public trail that links to the Bois-des-esprits? Will the plan enhance the Seine River Greenway as linear park of regional significance for the SE quadrant of the city? Time will tell.

The public forum on April 2 that was mentioned in the article in The Lance has been postponed. If you would like to be notified of the new date and details once they have been confirmed, please contact

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Greetings and happy new year! We welcome you to check out our most recent newsletters at Newsletters.

We included our regular edition “Meanderings” as well as a short special edition to outline some of the major announcements, including an introduction to our new Executive Director, and a funding announcement from the City of Winnipeg.

Please check them out and share! Remember to like us on facebook and follow our webpage!



Stockings Overflow at Save Our Seine

Local news outlets mostly snoozed through it, but tucked away in the 2014 budget passed just before Christmas was a giant gift for Save Our Seine; $30,000 of funding for a full time staff member for 2014. This is a monumental step over twenty years in the making. Since the late 1980′s (and since incorporation in 1990) SOS volunteers have been cleaning up the river to improve habitat and enjoyment of the river for all creatures; two legged, four legged, many legged, winged and beyond! SOS has also dramatically improved the tax revenue on property adjacent to the Seine, all along without any consistent funding source from the City of Winnipeg.

This also marks the achievement of a campaign pledge by Brian Mayes, city Councillor for St. Vital ward, of installing a consistent funding source for an executive director at SOS. In a year plagued by political scandal (in our own city and in others) it is nice to reflect on a politician coming through on their promises, and no small promise it was. Thanks also go to Councillor Dan Vandal who helped support the budget item with Councillor Mayes.

On behalf of SOS and all those who enjoy the Seine, thank you Councillors Mayes and Vandal! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and we look forward to a new year working together!

SOS Summer News

Summer is always busy for SOS with our Green Team on the water. Follow us on facebook to get frequent updates and pictures on their tremendous progress.

We are also preparing to interview candidates in our search for an Executive Director, thanks to Councillor Brian Mayes’ support.

Here are a few other bits of SOS news from the past few weeks:

  • Following in the footsteps of the $5000.00 donation from the office of Gord Mackintosh (Minister of Cons. & Water Stewardship) is ANOTHER $5000.00 donation by an anonymous donor. This anonymous donation came to SOS via the Winnipeg Foundation. The donor wants the funds to be used towards researching/improving water quality of the Seine. Thank you!!
  • Adopt a River: HS Paul school students walked over to the banks of the Seine River for year-end activities on two different days. Sixty Grade 7 & 8 students participated in research activities and SOS provided guided tours with four different groups. The focus was on discovering wood carvings and vegetation. The next day a group of sixty grades 3&4 students spent the afternoon with SOS President Denis Gautron and 4 teachers exploring and discovering the wood carvings from Shorehill Drive to Woody and back. The shade from the dense leaf growth made the walk enjoyable for these young enthusiastic children.

Enjoy this wonderful summer and make some time for a stroll along the greenway! A river lies waiting to be discovered…

-Save Our Seine


Conestoga Campground: St. Vital history found on South St Vital trail

Check out this fantastic post by former SOS President Dave Watson on the RPARC blog. Follow their blog for great updates on the Seine river greenway and surrounding areas in the south east corner of Winnipeg.

“Chatting with a local resident from the newly built Oxbow on the Seine condos alerted me to the news that a gravel pathway had been quietly built behind St. Anne’s Self Storage at 90 Creek Bend Road. Now the site of a huge pre-fabricated metal storage building, this location was once the well treed site of Conestoga Campsites.”

Read the full story:


RPARC (Riel Parks and Rivers Commons) is a coalition of citizens, in the south east quadrant of Winnipeg committed to:

-transparent urban planning processes that recognize and incorporate the value and importance of our green spaces.
-protecting and enhancing urban forest, wildlife corridors and grasslands, especially along the riverbanks and neighboring lands of the urban Seine River.

Thank you Councillor Brian Mayes!

Prior to being elected, Councillor Brian Mayes pledged to assist Save Our Seine River Environment Inc.’s efforts to protect, preserve and enhance the Seine River Greenway. Recently, Councillor Mayes committed to assist in funding an SOS staff position with a grant of $28,000. In this photo, SOS President Denis Gautron accepts a cheque on behalf of Save Our Seine.
Photo: Prior to being elected, Councillor Brian Mayes pledged to assist Save Our Seine River Environment Inc.'s efforts to protect, preserve and enhance the Seine River Greenway. Recently, Councillor Mayes committed to assist in funding an SOS staff position with a grant of $28,000.  In this photo, SOS President Denis Gautron accepts a cheque on behalf of Save Our Seine.
SOS is also grateful for Councillor Mayes’ recognition of SOS’s role in looking after the City of Winnipeg’s premiere Greenway. To show our appreciation we provided Councillor Mayes with mounted Seine River Greenway Maps to adorn his office.
Photo: SOS is also grateful for Councillor Mayes' recognition of SOS's role in looking after the City of Winnipeg's premiere Greenway. To show our appreciation we provided Councillor Mayes with mounted Seine River Greenway Maps to adorn his office.

Don’t Stifle SOS – Letters to Winnipeg Sun, June 11, 2013

Don’t stifle SOS

Letter writer Pat Brooks argues that Councillor Brian Mayes should not provide a grant to Save Our Seine River Environment Inc. Save Our Seine is well known as an organization that cleans and looks after the city-owned lands and parks along the 26 km Seine River in Winnipeg. That is 52 kms of shoreline and hundreds of acres of public land. SOS’s efforts replace hundreds of hours of unionized city staff — which can be applied elsewhere in Winnipeg.

For each $1 granted to SOS, it is multiplied by several more dollars in value from federal, provincial, foundation and private funding sources and thousands of hours of volunteer time. To list a few results, SOS who was responsible for; reporting contamination and having 70,000 tons of toxic soil removed in St. Boniface, ensuring the river can cross the floodway, preserving a forest in St. Vital as a new city park, kilometres of popular new trails, and constantly clearing garbage and shopping carts from the scenic river. It is accepted that SOS’s results since 1990, have increased land values, making the lands highly desirable and greatly increasing the property tax revenues. Ask developers, realtors, and the families moving near the Seine River Greenway.

Whether funding for SOS comes from the city’s operating budget or a councillor’s budget; “it is all taxpayers money” and money very well spent on city assets for the benefit of all citizens.

David J. Danyluk
As printed in the June 11th Winnipeg Sun

Spirit Woods are a cultural hub in Royalwood

Spirit Woods are a cultural hub in Royalwood


Spirit Woods are a cultural hub in Royalwood
The Lance
June 12, 2013
By: Tanya Misseghers

Shawn Stankewich has been inspired by the Bois-des-Esprits in Royalwood. A master’s of landscape architecture student at the University of Manitoba, Stankewich features the Bois in his program practicum.
With no community club or school in Royalwood, Stankewich found the Bois-des-Esprits represents a neighbourhood hub, where people could gather and connect with the natural beauty.
“It’s one of things that really pushed me to pursue this site as one of my practicum studies”, he says.
Passionate about ecology, design, and education, Stankewich aspires to create landscapes that reflect and interpret natural phenomena within the urban fabric.
Stankewich views Murray Watson’s carvings, including the iconic forest spirit Woody, as an example of incorporating culture into the Bois while maintaining its ecological systems and protecting wildlife habitats…