News Local

St. Ambroise beach re-opens 0

By Clarise Klassen, QMI Agency

Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart with the St. Ambroise beach petition sent to the provincial government. (Portage Daily Graphic file photo)

Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart with the St. Ambroise beach petition sent to the provincial government. (Portage Daily Graphic file photo)

Day-use areas at St. Ambroise Beach Provincial Park are once again open to the public after repairs to damage caused by flooding in 2011.

Conservation and Water Stewardship Minister Gord Mackintosh made the announcement last week.

“The damage from the 2011 flood was severe, but the day-use areas of the park are once again open to the public,” said Mackintosh. “I want to thank staff for their hard work in getting the park ready to go and I hope Manitobans will take the time this summer to visit the park and take advantage of the restored beach area.”

Work done to re-establish day-use operation included demolition of all buildings destroyed by the flood, cleanup of all flood debris, restoration of the main park entry road and parking lot, shoreline and beach cleanup, and the construction of washroom facilities. The restoration was done with an investment of about $300,000, Mackintosh said, noting future redevelopment at the site will take flood risks into account.

“We are committed to rebuilding this park and ensuring people are able to enjoy it for years to come,” said Mackintosh. “Planning is underway to ensure people are once again able to camp at St. Ambroise Beach by 2015.”

That news makes Rural Municipality of Portage la Prairie Ward 1 Coun. Garth Asham very happy.

“I applaud the provincial government for stepping up and committing the funds to redo the beach,” said Asham, who along with the RM council asked questions about the provincial park following the flood to see what would be done with it and what St. Ambroise residents wanted to see done. That led to residents circulating a petition to have the park restored.

“It was a unified effort by council and all the parties involved,” Asham said.

In a letter to the editor in Tuesday's issue of The Graphic, Portage MLA Ian Wishart commended the people of St. Ambroise for actively lobbying for the reopening of the beach.

“I would like to thank the staff at Manitoba Conservation, but particularly the group Concerned Residents of St. Ambroise that helped push for a quick reopening .…Thanks to the many hundreds of people who signed the petitions calling for the re-opening. Together, we can get things done,” he wrote.

Besides its Saskatoon Berry Festival in late July and Métis Festival in the early part of the year, Asham said the beach is one of the biggest attractions St. Ambroise has. When the park was shut down, it led to the closure of the store, something the councillor hopes will reopen when traffic increases due to the park in the village of about 200 people.

“They're hoping to have the campground open in 2017. It's going to be a while, but better late than never.”

Future work to redevelop the park will include new campsites and a playground, a picnic shelter, a campground office and a new water supply system, as well as electrical and plumbing repairs.

The minister noted the restoration of the park’s day-use areas supports the implementation of Building the Parks Province: Manitoba’s Parks Strategy, and is part of a key initiative to invest more than $100 million in park infrastructure by 2020.

For more information on the strategy, visit www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/parksstrategy/.

clarise.klassen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter@PDGclarisek

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