Portage la Prairie is growing as more and more people choose to make their homes here. City Councillor Terrie Porter is excited to see how they're adapting to the population increase. 

"The roads and sidewalks are part of my portfolio. This part here is the really exciting part. The city had two major active transportation projects last year. One is complete; Meighen Avenue. The other one was is Saskatchewan Ave. The extension of the pathway down Meighen Ave. was, believe it or not, 565 metres. The paving of the path was completed last summer and the sodding was also done. That was a wonderful thing that they did. I don't know if you've been around that area. It's pretty cool. It just keeps everybody safe; the kids coming from school walking back and forth on their bikes, or whatever."

She says the second project was the bike path and sidewalks on Saskatchewan Ave. 

"Those paths and sidewalks have been completed from that 4th St. W 7th St. West, on the north side of the road from 7th St. W to 20th St. W. They're hoping to have the path extended all the way to the tracks. They're not quite there yet with that, but the benefits of extending these active transportation networks provide a convenient safe way for the kids with school, and any citizen who wants to pursue an active lifestyle and promote health."

She notes the new protective active transportation path provides that access to our downtown stores and restaurants in the west-end shopping district at the same time that the paved paths provide accessibility to everyone.

"I want to stress this: Everyone from pedestrians to cyclists, and I'm also including motorized bikes -- not motorcycles, but the E-bikes and electric chairs as well as scooters -- are welcome to use these paths. We're connecting this Koko Platz centre to the existing path in the neighbourhood. It's going to be just a benefit to everybody. Quality of life was very important. It was one of the five strategic initiatives of the city. It just provides alternate transportation methods to anybody who's unable to drive or doesn't own a vehicle."

Porter adds many people might say that makes for a lot of paths. However, there are a lot of things always going on up and down along Saskatchewan Avenue. She says it gives the opportunity for everybody to get out.

"We are really looking forward to all that happening and just have people go to the end, turn around, and go, 'Wow! How beautiful is this?' This is almost a full-year project that we're working on and then we want to see what our initiatives are for next year. But this is what we're concentrating on finishing."

With all these new features in the city, you might be wondering how the city will maintain all of these paths, cycling lanes, and walking paths.

"The City of Portage la Prairie, in the last 20 years, has not had any significant headcount changes, like hiring changes, and adding staff. In light of our growing community and the additions to the amount of infrastructure we've added and have to maintain, Council is adding two positions to our workforce. I believe one's already one on the Operations side, but the second one is an additional Transportation Division employee."

Porter adds this person will be responsible for road maintenance and snow clearing. She says the community is growing the number of ways that people can travel, necessitating maintenance of the road all seasons.