Community services continues to be a top priority for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry. I have heard from many residents over the course of this last year about how important these services are for your families; from the children at Oakenwald School advocating for their favorite library, to those asking for pick up and drop off services at their favorite community hub, to the ladies who love Sherbrook Pool and the aquacize classes there.
Recreation facilities and libraries are essential amenities that support Winnipeg families. Recreation can boost spirits and save lives! These investments support inclusion, access, recreation, and cultural destinations like our libraries. Listening to Winnipeggers, we know their overarching budget priorities are for investment in recreational and library facilities.
The Recreation and Library Investment Strategy includes important investments in new and existing facilities across the city. A major focus of this strategy is making recreation investments in high need areas of the city.
The annual operating budget in the Community Services Department increases by 1.6 percent from $106.9 million in 2020 to $112 million in 2023 to maintain core services and programming. This includes a historic 3-year, $50 million towards the Recreation and Library Investment Strategy from the $75 million annual provincial capital grants the City receives, confirmed by the Province of Manitoba for each of the next three years. I was pleased to collaborate with Minister Rochelle Squires to help make this happen!
Major investments in this plan (which are included in an administrative report that is still subject to Council approval) include:
- $15 million for critical building renewal and repairs at indoor pools across the city, including Pan Am, Cindy Klassen, Seven Oaks, and St. James Assiniboia Centennial pool
- $5.9 million to redevelop the Old Ex arena and adjacent site improvement
- $5.5 million for upgrades to the Millennium, St. James, and Westwood libraries
- $1.8 million for the renewal of Turtle Island Recreation Centre
I am pleased to see that the Preliminary 2021 Balanced Budget Update makes millions of dollars in important investments into community services that will help ensure the facilities residents depend on will be enjoyed for years to come!