Neepawa Town Council examines how to help Bird Sanctuary


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

Neepawa Town Council is exploring its options when it comes to future support for the Rotary Park Bird Sanctuary. The Town was recently asked to assist with an outstanding invoice of $767.13. The bill was for repairs to the facility’s in-floor heating, which is required to keep the birds comfortable over the extended winter hiatus. 

The Town of Neepawa does not own the bird sanctuary. It is independently operated completely by volunteers, who dedicate their time to cleaning and maintaining the facility and feeding the animals. 

In the past, former caretaker Jake Birch would apply for and receive municipal grants to assist with upkeep and upgrades to the facilities. Town administration indicated that they have not received any recent applications for grants since his retirement in 2016.  Since the application deadline for grants this year has already passed, Council is examining other potential ways to assist the sanctuary in a prompt manner.

The bird sanctuary first opened in 2000 through the efforts of the Neepawa Rotary Club and Neepawa Wildlife Association. 


Community Grant announced: A little under $110,000 will be distributed by the town between 11 organizations in the form of municipal grants in the 2018 financial plan. The group receiving the support included: 

The Yellowhead Centre - $85,000,  ArtsForward - $6,500,  NACTV - $4,500,  Neepawa Baseball/Softball Association - $4,000, Beautiful Plains Doctor Recruitment - $2,500, Home Assistance Neepawa and District - $1,995.95,  Beautiful Plains Archives - $1,500, Citizens on Patrol - $1,500 , Beautiful Plains Horticultural Society - $1,000 , Neepawa in Bloom - $1,000, Beautiful Plains Museum - $500

Further details in relation to the town’s 2018 financial plan will be made public in the near future. 


Heritage request: Neepawa Lions Club has requested the town look at granting a municipal heritage site designation for Stoney Creek School #133. For the designation to move forward, a public hearing and notification through the media are required. The last building in Neepawa to receive such a heritage designation was the Beautiful Plains Museum in June 2017.

If this designation is approved, it provides the Lions Club the ability to pursue federal or provincial heritage designations. As well, it would allow them the opportunity to pursue funding to assist in maintaining the building. 

Stoney Creek School was established in 1881 and closed in 1950, being formally consolidated into Neepawa School No. 126 in January 1967. The school building was moved to Neepawa in 1964, where it is displayed at the Lions Riverbend Park. A stone monument remains at its former site in the Rural Municipality of Langford.


Housing concerns: A concerned citizen has sent a letter of complaint in connection to the living situation at 8 Whitmore Crescent. The letter expressed frustration regarding the number of people occupying the house. In late 2017, the owners of that home, the Trimac Group, made a request for conditional use for a boarding house in order to accommodate seven of their employees. That request was rejected by the council after it received a large amount of opposition from neighbouring property owners. Since that meeting in late December, according to the concerned citizen, the number of occupants in the house has remained the same.

Council is preparing a response to the citizen’s letter, which explains the by-laws that they are obligated to follow in this situation and the difficulty they face in regard to enforcement.

Due to council rejecting the conditional use request for a boarding house back in December, the residence cannot be inspected under the provincial law unless the owner or tenant request it or if a court order is issued to conduct an inspection. Had the Town of Neepawa council approved the conditional use application, the building inspector would have had the authority to conduct an inspection. Because council turned down the conditional use, the Town does not have the legal authority to conduct such an inspection. The Town is, however, exploring all its legal options in this situation.