Monday, November 14, 2016

An open letter to Councillors Scott Gillingham and Cindy Gilroy

Dear Councillors Gillingham and Gilroy;

I am writing on behalf of hundreds of Winnipeg runners who train year round on Winnipeg streets and trails.  Perhaps you've seen us; we're on the roads at 6 AM, we run through blizzards and squalls, ice and heat, sunny ways and foreboding skies.  We are your average Joes and Josephines, we were at ground zero of the Boston Marathon bombing, we are ultra marathoners, we run in wheelchairs, we are Ironmen, we run to lose weight, we are survivors of cancer and strokes, we run to be sane in a complicated world. We believe all days are good for running, some are just better than others.

Part of our training includes weekly hill workouts.  Hill training builds strength, endurance and prepares us psychologically for the challenges ahead.  It's hard to find a hill in this neck of the woods, but fortunately the old city dump, Westview Park, affectionately known as Garbage Hill, is the 'go to' hill for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of outdoor enthusiasts.  Garbage Hill is a diamond in the rough and has significant potential as a year round mecca for active Winnipeggers.

There are seven elements to Garbage Hill (see here).  I draw your attention to the most common element, the Loop.  The Loop measures 0.8 km from the south gate, 'loop' around the cul de sac on top of the hill, and return to gate (see photographs below).


Garbage Hill, The Loop 
(approximately 0.8 km)
Start at south gate.
Round corner facing east.
Up the straight, due north.
Round the cul de sac at the top and return to gate.

The Loop is virtually inaccessible to pedestrian traffic in winter months because it remains unplowed for months on end. It's especially treacherous in the spring season with the the endless freeze-thaw cycle rendering the hill dangerous let alone inaccessible.  This is unfortunate because many outdoor enthusiasts train year round for spring running and walking events including our very own Manitoba Marathon, Winnipeg Police Services half-marathon, and the Spruce Woods Ultra-marathon.  Many others just like to meet up with friends to "pound a few hills" before meeting for a beverage and bite at a local establishment.  

Westview Park straddles the boundaries of Daniel McIntyre Ward and St. James Brooklands Ward. As councillors with shared responsibility of Westview Park you are in a position to improve the quality of life for many. 

This blogger respectfully asks you to consider plowing the Loop portion of Westview Park with a sidewalk plow with the same frequency to plow other sidewalks in the vicinity. This would make the Loop accessible year round and would greatly speed up the spring melt along the entire roadway.  

Winnipeg is a winter city. Our citizens are hearty and we embrace the cold. Plowing a 0.8 km strip of Garbage Hill is a small price when compared to the health benefits and the sheer enjoyment of citizens who access the hill year round.  Garbage Hill is Winnipeg's Kilimanjaro, our little bump in the middle of the finest city in Canada. 

In summary:
  • Garbage Hill straddles Daniel McIntyre ward and St. James Brooklands Park.
  • Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts including runner, walkers, families, tobogganers, cyclists, dog lovers, and many others access Garbage Hill year round.
  • The Loop is a 0.8 km section of the paved roadway and is the most common element of the hill.  
  • This blogger requests City of Winnipeg plow The Loop with a sidewalk plow at the same frequency sidewalks are plowed in the vicinity of Garbage Hill. 
  • It's a good day to be alive.
Please reply at your convenience. Your letter(s) will be published on See Mike Run as a follow up to this post. 


With Respect,

Mike

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