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Plan Your Winnipeg symposium

e-dition - March 23, 2007

University of Winnipeg President Lloyd Axworthy (left) and IUS Director Jino Distasio congratulate the winners of the Plan Your Winnipeg contest for their creativity and vision regarding how to make Winnipeg a better place to live.

Youthful Optimism:
Plan Your Winnipeg Winners

By Ilana Simon

Projects on green energy, homelessness and volunteerism were among the winners in the Plan Your Winnipeg Contest, sponsored by The University of Winnipeg's Institutue of Urban Studies and The Winnipeg Free Press.

More than 150 students, from elementary school to university, showcased 85 innovative concepts at the Plan Your Winnipeg symposium held March 20, 2007 at UWinnipeg.

From creating social change through community volunteerism to connecting the Exchange District and the adjacent Centennial neighbourhood with a green multi-functional building, students demonstrated their creativity, their social conscience and their environmental sensibility.

A Liveable City for Youth
"One thing we heard at the youth forum at last year's City Summit was that we need to make our city workable and liveable for young men and women. The Plan Your Winnipeg Contest was a chance to hear the creative ideas and insights of our city's youth," said President Lloyd Axworthy at the March 20 symposium held at UWinnipeg.

Brendan Salakoh, winner in the adult category for WinnShare: Creating Social Change through Volunteerism, has a sanguine vision for the future of Winnipeg. "Volunteerism is at the heart of WinnShare, and the idea is to help fight poverty, crime and other social problems," said Salakoh, a second year university student.

In his utopia, volunteers run everything from art and music classes to street clean up, they have access to community resources like schools and community centres during off hours, and employers are awarded with grants for allowing their staff an opportunity to volunteer one week per year.

"There's not a bad idea out there today. I want to congratulate each of you," Free Press Publisher Andy Ritchie told the student participants.

All Winners
"It could not have been easy for the judges to make their picks," added Mayor Sam Katz, before announcing the winning submissions."These are all great, exciting ideas. You are all winners."

Rylan Ramnarace, a Grade 4 student at Ecole Provencher School envisioned a large drop-in centre that could serve the city's over 2,000 homeless people as the key to revitalizing downtown Winnipeg. "I would also like to see improved housing, free parking, more trees and safety lights," he said. 

For members of Vincent Massey's Sustainable Development Committee, the future of Winnipeg lies in wind power. "If alternative energy could be incorporated into our existing power grid, this would benefit the environment," said Victor Le, a Grade 11 student.

City Planners Take Note
Jino Distasio, Director of UWinnipeg's Institute of Urban Studies, was impressed by the projects. "The submissions reflected decades of city planning. It's amazing that the kids came up with the same ideas and solutions that politicians and planners have been wrestling with for 40 years on how to combat poverty, homelessness, downtown revitalization and tackle environmental issues," he said, adding the quality of the projects also reflected the commitment of the teachers and students.

The projects were presented science-fair style, with team members presenting their concepts to judges Jim August, CEO of The Forks; Sheri Blake, University of Manitoba City Planning Professor; Hart Mallin, local developer; Stephanie Whitehouse, City Planning graduate student; and Mary Agnes Welch, Free Press City Hall reporter . The winner of each category received $1,000, with $500 for second place, provided by The Winnipeg Free Press. Each honourable mention received $100 courtesy of The University of Winnipeg.

Adult category

Brendan Salakoh

Brendan Salakoh was the winner in the Plan Your Winnipeg contest adult category for his unique plan "WinnShare: Creating Social Change through Volunteerism."

1st - "WinnSHARE: Social Change through Volunteerism"
Brendan Salakoh

2nd- "Greenscape Flats"
Tyler Green

Hon. Mention - "Experience the Flood"
Andrew Slinko, Eric Tranquada, Tim Winstanley

High School/Junior High category

Vincent Massey Collegiate students

Vincent Massey Collegiate students (left to right) Victor Le, Aaron Hendrickson-Gracie, Jonathan Kornelson and Gladys Yeung won first place in the Plan Your Winnipeg Contest high school/junior high category for promoting wind power as an alternative source of energy in "Riding the Winds of Change."

1st - "Riding the Winds of Change"
Vincent Massey Sustainable Development Committee

2nd - "A Kindred Traverse"
Bonnie Caron, Gr. 12 Shaina Paulizyn, Gr. 12
Argyle Alternative High School

Hon. Mention - "Bringing Downtown to Life"
Michelle Curry
University of Winnipeg Collegiate

Elementary Category

Rylan Ramnarace 

Rylan Ramnarace won first place in the Plan Your Winnipeg contest Elementary category for Starring Winnipeg, a concept that focuses on revitalizing downtown by building a large drop-in centre for homeless people, improved housing, free parking, more trees and safety lights.

1st-"Starring Winnipeg"
Rylan Ramnarace, Gr. 4
Ecole Provencher School

2nd-"A Sensor Cane"
Rachel Ostasz, Gr. 4 and Samantha Macaulay, Gr. 5
Ecole James Nisbet School

Hon. Mention - "BLN sk8"
Liam Callis, Nicolas Jolicoeur, Brady Kolt, Gr. 4
Ecole Provencher School

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