Northwest Winnipeg school speeding ahead with new bike trail after $55K provincial grant

A Winnipeg school will use its share of more than $880,000 in provincial grant money to create a new bike path in northwest Winnipeg.

Stanley Knowles School is getting $55,000 to help build Fairgrove Park Community Trail through the 2024 Trails Manitoba grant program, which will provide money to 33 projects this year to develop and improve trails in Manitoba.

“It will be a safe and exciting place where riders of all ages and abilities can come together to build their skills and connect with the freedom that comes from riding a bicycle,” Stanley Knowles teacher Luke Barr said at a Tuesday news conference announcing the grant funding.

For the past 10 years, the school has been working to promote healthy lifestyles among students by encouraging active transportation, including installing a bike cage and bike repair shop, he said. 

“Since then, our school has blossomed into a vibrant hub of cycling passion and community spirit,” Barr said.

Students who use the school’s repair shop have also shifted from a “buy and replace” mentality to learning how to fix their bikes, he said.

Ella Quinto, a Stanley Knowles student, said she’s excited for the new trail to open and hopes it will inspire people to get out and explore more. 

“I hope that those who haven’t found the joy of biking can find it here,” Quinto said. 

The provincial government grants, given in partnership with Trails Manitoba — a non-profit organization that works to promote the development and use of recreational trails in the province — will provide a total of $880,000 for 33 projects to develop or improve trails, the province said Tuesday.

That includes trail projects in Dauphin, Flin Flon, The Pas, Cranberry Portage, Steep Rock, Onanole and Stonewall, Environment and Climate Change Minister Tracy Schmidt said. 

A total of $190,000 will be spent on four new trails within the city of Winnipeg, including the Fairgrove Park trail and $100,000 for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy to develop public pathways at The Leaf. 

The projects will add 36 kilometres of new trails to Manitoba’s network, and help maintain and upgrade more than 600 kilometres of existing trails, said Schmidt.

“Whether it’s a relatively small project, like the installation of a storage box for snowshoes, or a major project to develop a new trail like we’re announcing here at École Stanley Knowles School today, this is really critical work to provide users with high quality trail experiences in our province,” she said at Tuesday’s news conference.

Approved projects are expected to be completed within two years.

The Trails Manitoba grant program has helped 85 communities, including 16 projects in Winnipeg and 127 projects across the province, said Jeana Manning, president of Trails Manitoba’s board.

The organization has received approximately $1.4 million annually over the past five years, which has helped create more than 100 kilometres of new trails and upgrade or maintain nearly 1,400 kilometres of trails, Manning said.