Manitoba's most popular provincial park, Birds Hill, is getting a $22-million makeover.
The province announced Monday that it is spending the money over the next five years to expand the beach, add campsites and enhance pathways and play areas, among other things.
“Birds Hill Park is a great getaway for families to easily escape the city for a day or two,” Premier Greg Selinger stated in a news release.
The park is located just 12 kilometres north of Winnipeg's Perimeter Highway.
“We know how much Manitobans love getting outdoors to relax and enjoy our fantastic summers and these improvements will allow more families to have an even better experience at the park,” Selinger said.
An estimated 730,000 people visit Birds Hill Park every year, making it the busiest park in the provincial park system, he noted.
The full list of planned improvements include:
Expanding the campground to include approximately 100 new fully-serviced campsites, modern washrooms and new play areas.
Expanding the existing lake and beach area.
Expanding and improving beach amenities such as new concessions and play areas, new beach volleyball and tennis courts, additional picnic areas and pathway connections, and new washrooms.
Constructing a new visitor centre, which will welcome people to Birds Hill Park and introduce visitors to the recreational and educational opportunities.
Upgrading roadways and buildings.
Conservation Minister Bill Blaikie said the first project will be the beach expansion. It's a part of the lake that hasn't been used as beachfront, he said.
"With so many people using the park you know the beach is very very crowded and this will mean a better beach experience for everyone that uses the park once that new beach is completed," Blaikie said.
Plans will likely be open to public consultation very soon, he added.
"We've done this in other parks where people might have an opportunity, maybe an open house, where people come and say, 'yeah, that's a good idea, but did you ever think about doing it this way?'"
The Birds Hill Provincial Park makeover is the largest single-park investment in the government’s plan to invest $100 million in provincial parks over the next five years, Selinger said.
“Our investment ensures more families than ever can enjoy Manitoba’s most visited provincial park,” said Selinger.
“The government is committed to ensuring our park system is one of the best in Canada. We have a lot to be proud of and it’s time to show the world our backyard.”
The Manitoba provincial park free entry program is also in effect for the third consecutive year, he added.