RidgeWood West Residents’ Association brings playground to life

Sep 24, 2019

All of the hard work from the RidgeWood West Residents’ Association has finally paid off! On Monday September 16, 2019 members of the RidgeWood West Residents’ Association and neighbours of the community celebrated the unveiling of the new RidgeWood West playground.

Over 400 guests stopped by to enjoy free ice cream from Sargent Sundae as well as, face painting and glitter tattoos for the kids. This event was a huge success for the RidgeWood West Residents’ Association which consists of its three founding members Jamie Neville, Rachelle Isaak and Robin Crosbie.

“This playground has been three years in the making and was our primary goal when reaching out to Qualico Communities,” says Jamie Neville, vice president of the RidgeWood West Residents’ Association.

When developing a new neighbourhood such as RidgeWood West, Qualico Communities works closely with the City or Rural Municipality to determine areas of the community to be allotted as public reserve. This includes parks and green spaces, however in most cases features such as playgrounds are not included.

Playgrounds are left in the trusting hands of the residents as they know best of what they want for their children and community. To streamline the process, Qualico Communities encourages neighbourhoods to form residents’ associations to gather input directly from those living in the community.

“Rather than anticipating what people want and plunking down a playground, we find it best to allow residents to tell us their priorities,” explains Eric Vogan, vice president of Qualico Communities Winnipeg. “The benefit of this is that the community gets a better playground that is specifically tailored to them.”

“We learn a lot from this process and the neighbourhood benefits because it’s a good community building exercise that strengthens relationships,” adds Vogan.

If a community requests more help than what Qualico Communities can provide, it is often found through other connections.

“Qualico Communities was instrumental in helping us figure out where to start and supplied us with the resources to help us form a residents’ association,” explains Neville.

This support included setting up meet-and-greets with local founders of established community associations to share what they have learned throughout the years. McGowan Russell Group also provided guidance and worked directly with the association members to thoughtfully design a playground for the neighbourhood to enjoy. In addition to this, a legal advisor was provided to help the association apply for grants and to assist in making the playground become a reality.

“Qualico Communities and the builders in RidgeWood West provided us with the initial funding for the playground,” says Neville. “From there we sought out funding through the City of Winnipeg Community Incentive Grant Program.”

The RidgeWood West Resident’s Association was an essential element in bringing the new playground to the community and has proven why a residents’ association is so important. It’s a chance for neighbours to come together to share their ideas and work cooperatively to make their neighbourhood a better place to live.

“Seeing the playground come to life is amazing!” says Neville. “Since everyone is fairly new in RidgeWood West, this playground is now a place for families to meet and for kids to run-off their steam and get their beans out.”

Community associations such as the RidgeWood West Residents’ Association have the capability of enriching the quality of life in a neighbourhood and can provide a shared sense of community kinship for its residents. If you would like to become a part of the RidgeWood West Residents’ Association, visit their Facebook page to connect and to share fresh ideas with other residents.