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Water feature next up for Portage’s Central Park?

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Portage Mayor Irvine Ferris cuts the ribbon at Tuesday unveiling of Central Park as Community Foundation of Portage and District chair Carey Duncan looks on. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Portage Mayor Irvine Ferris cuts the ribbon at Tuesday unveiling of Central Park as Community Foundation of Portage and District chair Carey Duncan looks on. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

The people have spoken, and they want a place to cool down on a hot summer’s day.

The Portage Parks Committee announced at Tuesday afternoon’s ribbon cutting ceremony, introducing the public to the Central Park play structure, that the next instalment on the greenspace is a water feature.

“To say that the (water feature addition of the) park will be built next year, if it’s approved by council, is very optimistic because there is a price tag that comes with it and the Parks Committee will need a good amount of time to fundraise,” says Ryan Espey, a Portage Parks Committee’s city council representative. “What we’re bringing to (the city) is the approval for ongoing operating costs.”

Based off of feedback collected from a public consultation held last month in order to gauge how best to proceed with the proposed Central Park plan, Portagers overwhelmingly responded in favour of a water feature. 56 per cent of respondents checked that box, with a skate park coming in at a distant second at 28 per cent.

From here, the Parks Committee will be bringing a design to the November 14 council meeting to be voted on for approval. The committee plans to front the bill for the water feature via fundraising initiatives and only need the city to cover operating costs and basic maintenance. Currently, the committee is in the process of collecting cost information to present to council next month.

“We told the guys (creating) the design not to be too optimistic, just give us the normal scenario of what it will cost the city to operate this so we’re going in with eyes wide open and there’s no surprises once this is all said and done,” adds Espey. “We need an accurate breakdown of that to bring forward to council to be voted upon, once we get the green light for that we can start fundraising.”

The original idea to convert the greenspace adjacent to the BDO Centre to a ‘Central Park’ was first brought to council in August of this year via a rendering supplied by Winnipeg-based architectural firm Scatliff, Miller and Murray.



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