Charitable foundation offers funding to kick-start Winnipeg bridge project

A charitable foundation operating in Winnipeg, Canada, has offered funding to the city council in support of two infrastructure projects.

Winnipeg Foundation is an endowment-based organisation, representing donors reaching back to 1921. It is marking its forthcoming centenary by offering US$3.7 million in support of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge and the renovation of a library to create community archives.

CEO Rick Frost said that the bridge proposal “looks to the future of our city – bringing people together and spanning lines that often divide”. He added: “A new pedestrian and cycling bridge connecting downtown and Osborne Village will provide a direct, safe and convenient connection for walking and biking that plugs into the city’s growing active transportation network.”

Winnipeg Foundation is asking that both projects be considered as part of the city’s 2019 capital budget. With approval of the council, it would enter into negotiations with the city to create a contribution agreement.

In 2017, the city began public consultation about the bridge. The link was recommended in the city’s Transportation Master Plan, which identified rivers as a significant barrier to the connectivity between city neighbourhoods.

Feedback was sought on three designs: girder, suspension and cable-stayed.

The foundation said that there is no funding for the project beyond the study phase and no timeline has been developed for implementation. "This could be many years down the road," it said in a report on its funding proposal. "A funding incentive from The Winnipeg Foundation could be the catalyst to move the project up the priority list, inspire earlier construction to meet required timelines, and enable selection of one of the more attractive options." It regards the more attractive options as the suspension and cable-stayed designs.