Forrest group longs for community park


Advertise with us

A group responsible for spearheading special projects in the Westman community of Forrest is a finalist in a national contest, and a victory would earn them thousands of dollars to put toward a new park.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

We need your support!
Local journalism needs your support!

As we navigate through unprecedented times, our journalists are working harder than ever to bring you the latest local updates to keep you safe and informed.

Now, more than ever, we need your support.

Starting at $14.99 plus taxes every four weeks you can access your Brandon Sun online and full access to all content as it appears on our website.

Subscribe Now

or call circulation directly at (204) 727-0527.

Your pledge helps to ensure we provide the news that matters most to your community!

A group responsible for spearheading special projects in the Westman community of Forrest is a finalist in a national contest, and a victory would earn them thousands of dollars to put toward a new park.

The Forrest Special Projects Group is one of five Manitoba finalists in a grant program that will see one community group each from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba win $25,000 to help grow their communities.

Starting this year, BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, which provides technical support to farmers, will run an annual Growing Home program, choosing five finalists from each Prairie province and encouraging voters to select their favourite one on the company’s website.

The Forrest Special Projects Group has raised enough money to build a toboggan hill, which was enjoyed by many children and families this past winter. Now, they're taking part in a grant competition to raise the money they need to build a new community park. (Submitted)

The Forrest Special Projects Group in Forrest, located 15 kilometres north of Brandon on Highway 10, is working on the development of a centrally located community park.

The space will feature a playground, picnic area and multi-sport court to promote physical activity and belonging and foster the mental, physical and emotional well-being of residents.

Currently, the only park for children in Forrest is located on the west side of the highway, which runs north-south and divides the town. Most children in Forrest live on the east side, making the park largely inaccessible due to safety concerns regarding kids crossing the highway.

With around 20 per cent of Forrest’s population being children and teenagers, Kristy Agnew, the group’s president, said it’s important that residents have a safe place to gather for community events and recreation.

“It kind of started with wanting to have a toboggan hill and a playground, and since we were just starting up, we thought, our children are going to be older by the time we get it all build. So then we started thinking that we should cater to the teenagers and the entire community in general,” Agnew said.

Before the snow fell last winter, the group raised enough money to build a toboggan hill, which Agnew said was well used. Now, the group is also looking forward to establishing a park with a play structure, basketball and pickle ball courts and more.

“We wanted a place or all of us. We just thought that it was super important, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Agnew said.

Winning the Growing Home contest would help the group reach its fundraising goal and allow them to install the playground equipment this fall.

The Municipality of Elton, in which Forrest is located, has a population of around 1,300. It can be hard for small communities to fundraise and find the money needed to cater to the needs of residents, Agnew said. That’s why grant programs such as Growing Home are so important, she added.

“We want to rally together as a community and get the support of a larger group of people,” Agnew said. “We want to cater to everyone, but we need that support.”

Competing with the Forrest Special Projects Group in western Manitoba is the Louise Aquatic Centre. The Municipality of Louise wants to replace its existing swimming pool, which is more than 50 years old.

The Notre Dame Arena, in Notre Dame de Lourdes, also applied for the grant program to fund upgrades to the facility.

St. Lazare Athletics, in St. Lazare, applied to the Growing Home program to support upgrades to the community’s baseball diamonds and the Zamboni room at the local hockey rink.

Finally, Woodlands Childcare, in Woodlands, applied for the program to fund an expansion to its facility.

The Forrest Special Projects Group’s goals represent the values that are important to BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions, the company’s customer solutions manager Andrea McConnell said.

“The Forrest Special Projects Group’s community park is important for us. It really aligns with the kind of key pillars that we’re looking at in terms of … building safe and healthy communities.”

And while this is the first time the company has held the contest, McConnell is hopeful that it, and other initiatives like it, will continue to benefit farm families and communities into the future.

“It’s designed to bring rural Canadians together across the Prairies, to rally and show support for the local organizations that make an impact in their communities,” she said.

Winners of the contest will be announced June 12.


» Twitter: @miraleybourne

Report Error Submit a Tip


Advertise With Us