City Hall is currently in the process of fast-tracking this project, which I firmly believe will scar Downtown for decades to come. The planned location, which has become known as Parcel 4 (the gaping gravel parking lot at the NW corner of the Forks), may very well be Winnipeg’s most valuable and most important undeveloped parcel of land.
While I do not oppose a water park in principle, it is clear to me that Parcel 4 is the wrong location for such a project. Situated in what I consider to be an awkward and embarrassing gap between Downtown and The Forks, the right project could very easily bridge this gap, as well as provide a fitting architectural counterpart to the CMHR, Esplanade Riel and Shaw Park (Goldeyes Stadium). I am doubtful that the proposed project (what I envision will essentially be a suburban styled hotel with a glorified swimming pool) could ever be worthy of this incredible location—not culturally, architecturally, or aesthetically. Additionally, a water park is a drive-in/drive-out facility that will do nothing to bridge the gap between Downtown and The Forks, or to provide vitality to Downtown Winnipeg.
It’s important to note that the planned facility would only offer a 50,000 square foot water park, making it less than 1/4 the size of West Edmonton Mall’s facility. Can we really call this “world class”? Further, the Canalta hotel chain’s portfolio does not contain any works of architectural significance; they specialize in rural hotels in Alberta and Saskatchewan, after all. Remember: This facility will be going across the street from the Canadian Museum For Human Rights, Winnipeg’s supposed answer to Bibao’s Guggenheim.
As always, Winnipeg, we can do better than this. I’ve written the mayor and the city councillors, and I urge you to do the same. Here are their email addresses:
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