Rivers committee proceeds with park plan


By Donna Morken


Winter has come and gone and Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee (RTSRC)  continues to move forward with its plans to renovate the station and be sustainable. In the fall of 2015 RTSRC applied for a provincial grant called Partners 4 Growth; it provides 50/50 cost-shared funding for regions to identify and pursue economic development opportunities.

It is intended to assist communities and regions to strengthen or diversify economic activity. RTSRC shared half the cost and the provincial government the other half related to development of the train station and sustainability projects for the committee, region, community and the station itself. A planning and design group named HTFC was hired out of Winnipeg. They built on the ideas that the committee already had, as well as listening to ideas from interested persons within the community regarding the train station. 

On Feb. 24, 2016 three employees (two landscape architects and a community planner) of HTFC came to Rivers and met with RTSRC to collect and provide locations for those project ideas. They included the loco-labyrinth, the railway-themed RV park and the Renn Car accommodations idea. From here they produced information relating to three areas to locate the above-noted projects within the community as related to the information they gathered. Riverdale Municipality advised it would work with RTSRC to achieve these projects for the community. 

Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee, with other partners such as Rivers & Area Community Foundation (RACF), then began applying for different funding streams to help them develop the projects. (RACF would eventually like to have a home in the station to honour Bernard Goekoop, who left the original bequest to the community.)  As noted earlier, RACF received a $50,000 grant from Burns Foundation to have the roof redone on the station; this will be completed this summer.  

Further to this, last fall RTSRCe applied to CN Eco-connexions From the Ground Up program for funding to begin work on the loco-labyrinth/RV park. On April 22, 2016 CN contacted RTSRC to advise them their application to this funding had been approved up to $25,000. The following excerpt from the press release  from  www.cnfromthegroundup.ca shows the commitment of CN.

“CN is committed to making a positive impact on the communities along our network, and we are proud to be part of a program that helps to make these communities better places to live, work and play,” said Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN. “Since we started this program, more than 50,000 trees and shrubs have been planted in 120 communities across Canada, which not only add beauty, but is another way we positively contribute to a sustainable future one community at a time, as planting trees improves air quality and offsets carbon emissions.”

This announcement means the trees and shrubs to outline the labyrinth and park could be purchased and projects started in 2016. At the April 26 RTSRC meeting they decided which location would be best for these two projects and will now take this to the Riverdale Municipality to see if this location is accepted. It is with great excitement that Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee moves their sustainability projects forward. Stay tuned for more information along the way!