I am seeking re-election to the City Council of Portage la Prairie.

Having served one term on council, I have accomplished many of the goals set out in my last election platform, those being (all topics from my last election platform):

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The Benefits of Park Development

City parks have many benefits for those fortunate enough to have access to them. There are truly a myriad of benefits and the North End Parks Committee is hard at work with development and creation of parks that will benefit the entire city.

Physical Benefits: Parks provide the user the opportunity for exercise in the form of play. With activities like Crossfit becoming more popular, you see more and more adults using playground equipment for their exercise routines. Children get out in the fresh air and may opt to put down the electronic devices for some outdoor time.

Sense of Community: Parks offer children and adults the opportunity to interact and build relationships with one another. As adults become more familiar with one another the sense of community builds within them and quality of life increases. Kids have a place to go and activities to keep them occupied. Parks offer a sense of place, self-identity, and belonging as an antidote to alienation, vandalism, and violence. In the community consultation process there were comments from the Junior High aged students that they just wanted a place to go with their friends that was free of “drama”. In some cases a well designed park in certain areas of the city can attract residents from all areas of the city and bridge the gap in the perceived socio-economic divide of a city.

Economic Benefit: Good facilities will attract tourism. Case in point, currently some of our schools still bus students to the spray park in Macgregor. When people come to our community it results in money being spent in our community be it food, fuel, hotels, etc. Areas of the city with accessible facilities are attractive to those looking to relocate here. Property value can be impacted by having parks located close by.

Crime Reduction: With a strong sense of community comes a desire to look out for one another. When planning improvements to the parks in the north end of Portage, community consultations were held; this included the opinions of the children of that area. Seeing their ideas come to light creates a sense of pride. When children have something to do they are drawn away from potentially illegal activities. In my line of work I once asked a young offender what a city could do to keep young people from committing crime and without hesitation he replied to me “give us something to do”. Parks help fulfill that need.

These are just a few of the reasons I am passionate about park development and why I have supported plans to create parks and recreation that are accessible and affordable for all of Portage la Prairie’s residents.

Ryan Espey

Chair – Public Safety Committee

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