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James Allum, MLA Fort Garry - Riverview
May 27, 2013

Wildwood Heritage and Conservation Committee

In all great cities, the best neighbourhoods are those that conserve parks and green spaces to promote biological diversity, enhance our quality of life and maintain our spiritual connection to the natural world. A classic example of this in Winnipeg is Wildwood Park, a unique neighbourhood in Fort Garry-Riverview along the Red River where residential development is beautifully integrated within the forest parkland. In Wildwood Park, the built and natural environments stand as one, each enriching the other while all the while serving as a valuable asset for every resident of the community.

As Jane Jacobs once noted, neighbourhood parks and green spaces are not “boons conferred on the deprived population of cities” but in fact “need the boon of life and appreciation conferred on them" if they are to serve their intended purpose. This is the mandate of the Wildwood Heritage and Conservation Committee. WHACC, as it's affectionately called, was established 13 years ago by a group of concerned community residents who wanted to ensure that Wildwood Park retained its vibrant natural heritage in the midst of urban development.

WHACC is dedicated to preserving the river-bottom forest that encompasses Wildwood, focusing on planting native species and treating the entire area as one habitat. They work on preserving the forest and protecting it from invasive species, pests and litter, and they plant native trees and shrubs within the park to supplement the aging forest. In its 13 years, WHACC has planted thousands of new trees and shrubs, actually extending the riverbank forest, thereby creating a new habitat and a meadow of prairie grasses and wildflowers. They also dig and pull invasive species, wire trees to protect them from beavers, pick up litter and otherwise confer the boon of life and appreciation on the park.

Mr. Speaker, I'm delighted to pay tribute to the members of the Wildwood Heritage and Conservation Committee today and to thank them for preserving this little piece of heaven in Fort Garry-Riverview. Thank you.