"Many hands make light work. That's the beauty of community participation in project development." 

That was the sentiment shared in a recent update from the board of Winkler's Discovery Nature Sanctuary (DNS), highlighting the many ways the community has stepped up to develop and sustain the space. 

The latest example, highlighted in the update, MacMor Industries stepping up to the plate following an incident of vandalism to the rope for the pedestrian fencing project along the sanctuary's accessibility trail.

"We have an accessibility trail that runs from the parking lot all the way to the dock, and it's a trail which is there for not only people that want to walk along it, but also those that have challenges with mobility," explained board chair, Paul Goossen. "Ot's an important part of the trail. We decided to put up what I call pedestrian fencing, basically posts with a hole in each, and then a one-inch rope threaded through it. It gives it kind of a nice look, and also provides the opportunity to separate out, and sort of encourage people not to cross that area off into habitats or other areas." 

Recently, that rope went missing.

"It eventually got located, but we needed to replace it," added Goossen. "Centennial Supply Limited had donated the original rope, then once we were faced with the rope not being in proper condition to go back into the fencing, we approached MacMor Industries, and they were very graciously kind enough to say that they would donate rope to us."

As a result, 315 feet of donated Manila rope was put back into the fencing, restoring it to its former condition.

"We were grateful for the original donation by Centennial Supply Ltd., and very much appreciate the rope donation by MacMor Industries Ltd. this fall. Having the pedestrian fencing back in shape helps finish off its look," stated a DNS news release.

Photo of pedestrian fencing including rope donated by MacMor Industries Ltd.Photo of pedestrian fencing including rope donated by MacMor Industries Ltd.

Meantime, 20 local businesses have helped develop the sanctuary in various ways throughout the years, whether through in-kind services or donations.

"Certainly, initially, we're grateful the city of Winkler gave the green light to go ahead with the nature sanctuary," added Goossen. They've been supportive and behind us and have also contributed funding, and that has been a big help. But we've also had support from local businesses, which is great, because it's really important for the community to get behind the sanctuary project. It not only makes more people aware of it and to encourage them to come out and visit, but it also adds to community building, and just that the whole city can participate in some capacity, whether they're visiting or providing assistance or materials or that sort of thing."

One of those businesses is Kroeker Farms, which made a significant financial contribution to the construction of the viewing platform.

"The viewing platform is one of the neat visiting places at the sanctuary, because it gives you such a great view of many parts of the sanctuary," said Goossen. "You get to overlook the creek with the woods on either side and, if you turn around, you get to see the pond and trails and that sort of thing."

Located next to each other, Goossen added Kroeker Farms has also been a good neighbour with staff helping to plant trees and maintain the evergreens between the two properties. 

Additionally, Goossen highlighted Federated Co-op which contributed $60,000 towards the construction of the outdoor Co-op Education Centre at the sanctuary. 

"It's a neat place for people to come for coffee or visit, or have lunch," said Goossen. "And it's also served as a place for schools when they're doing field trips, to store their bags there or have lunch or whatever."

Access Credit Union, added Goossen, also provided significant funding toward the construction of the dock, which he noted is also a really neat part of the sanctuary.

"...because you get to go right over the water there. And of course, without getting wet, you get to see the ducks and the geese, and you also get a chance to look into the water and see if you can see any fish or any invertebrates or whatever plant life there is."

Art Wiebe (Discovery Nature Sanctuary Committee), Joel Billings (with plaque) (Access Credit Union) and Tanya Chateauneuf (Discovery Nature Sanctuary Committee, Winkler Chamber of Commerce)Art Wiebe (Discovery Nature Sanctuary Committee), Joel Billings (with plaque) (Access Credit Union) and Tanya Chateauneuf (Discovery Nature Sanctuary Committee, Winkler Chamber of Commerce)

These are just a few examples of the support Goossen says the board is grateful for. A as a committee of volunteers, having that additional support means so much, he agreed.

"It means there's interest in the project, and by having that kind of interest it just is gratifying to see that people and businesses are willing to get involved and help make this place very special for the for the citizens of Winkler and any visitors that that come out to see the place."

With files from Pam Fedack


In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PembinaValleyOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PembinaValleyOnline app.