Rural Municipality of Springfield, Manitoba
Life is good and getting better
Business View Magazine profiles the Rural Municipality of Springfield, Manitoba for our focus on Economic Development & Growth in Canadian Communities
As one of the most populous rural municipalities in the province of Manitoba, Springfield is a robust community of more than 15,000, and growing. Incorporated in 1880, the name Springfield represents the multiple springs which were located throughout the area at the time. Bordering the City of Winnipeg, the municipality is home to the natural beauty of the Agassiz Provincial Forest, spanning 307 square miles of bountiful undeveloped forestland, and Birds Hill Provincial Park, featuring 22 square miles of lush natural surroundings on protected land.
Blessed with exceptional views and four seasons of an everchanging landscape, Springfield offers residents and visitors a wide range of outdoor activities, from snowmobile and horse trails, to seasonal events and beaches. The Rural Municipality of Springfield is known worldwide for its equine community, and is one of the larger of its kind in Canada. Its access to picturesque trails and top-notch amenities like the Manitoba Horse Council facility, which is housed on the grounds of Birds Hill Park, makes Springfield a draw for equestrian enthusiasts, who are pleased with the services available to them in the community.
The RM of Springfield includes the urban areas of Oakbank, Dugald, and Anola, as well as the less populated communities of Cooks Creek and Hazelridge. With a diverse mix of residents, Springfield is a friendly and welcoming community, depicting quaint, small-town charm, while positioned in perfect proximity to the amenities of the urban center of Winnipeg. Keeping the lines of communication open between residents and council is a priority for the municipality. As a way to connect with the community, the RM publishes a monthly online newsletter, highlighting local businesses, updating residents about ongoing and completed projects, promoting community events, and educating readers about various topics of relevance, such as water treatment upgrades and information. Social media is another way in which the municipality engages with residents – staying connected and sharing news.
While Springfield is on a growth trajectory, supporting all residents remains a priority, with projects like Dugald Place, an assisted living residence creating opportunities for seniors to “age in place”. In early 2021, the municipality formed Springfield Heritage Housing Inc. (SHHI); a not-for-profit organization focused on increasing housing options for seniors. As a partnership between the RM of Springfield, Dugald Place Housing Co-op, and the Springfield Seniors Non-Profit Housing Co-op, SHHI is facilitating the Dugald Place project, a $24 million accessible assisted living residence. Located adjacent to Dugald Estates, a 55+ independent living residence, this project is expected to be completed in 2023. Plans for the complex include an Aquatic and Wellness Centre, which is the first of its kind in Springfield, and will be available to the community. A federal investment of $25,000 will assist in energy efficiency planning for the project through the Sustainable Affordable Housing initiative, which is aimed at assisting housing providers in building new housing to net-zero standards. It is hoped that the completion of this project will be a guide for the development of similar models throughout Springfield and the province of Manitoba.
Springfield has recently upgraded the Dugald water treatment plant, with a multi-phased plan to expand the Oakbank water treatment plant, based on anticipated growth, ensuring a safe water source throughout the municipality. A lagoon expansion has also been completed to meet the needs of the growing community up to 2032. There is continued effort to secure high-speed internet throughout Springfield, an ongoing challenge which is necessary for future resident and business attraction. There is also intention to increase the housing inventory in Springfield, diversifying to include additional single family detached residences, townhouses, condo, and apartment buildings.
Updating and adding recreational opportunities are an ongoing priority for the municipality, ensuring that residents have access to quality amenities such as the Springfield Community Splash Pad which was opened in July, 2021. This 3000 square foot splash pad, located in the community of Oakbank, is equipped with 25 different spray features, and is accessible to fun seekers of all abilities. In a second phase of this project, a picnic shelter and playground will be added to this area, which also has a skate park. On the same site, Springfield Council is continuing with plans for a recreation centre, to include a gymnasium, an indoor track, an indoor playground, a community kitchen, and other multi-purpose rooms. Free recreational programs such as snowshoeing for kids, and guided nature walks are offered throughout the municipality, encouraging outdoor adventure for all ages.
In December of 2021, upgrades to a 7000 square foot firehall in Springfield’s industrial area were completed, adding a new training room, which serves as a both an onsite classroom for staff, and an incident command centre, with six independent phone lines built in. A bunker room, equipped with showers, washrooms, and an industrial washing machine was also added, along with a third large overhead door, and a large parking area for responders. To protect against long term health effects from exposure to emissions, a vehicle exhaust protection system was added to all firefighting vehicles. The system, which is connected to each vehicle’s exhaust system, filters out harmful toxins. The facility has also been equipped with new alarm and security systems, office space, and areas for both indoor and outdoor training.
In other infrastructure improvements, road and sidewalk enhancements are ongoing in the RM of Springfield. A recently completed project includes sidewalk extension and repairs in the community of Anola, deterring pedestrians from travelling on busy roadways. A roundabout was also introduced to a busy Springfield intersection, after it was noted that 80% of residents used the intersection daily, or weekly. This information was obtained through a virtual survey, which had a 400% increase in engagement as compared to previous in person surveys conducted in the municipality. The conclusion was that 87% of respondents preferred a roundabout to the other option of traffic lights.
As a bedroom community, many residents of Springfield travel to Winnipeg for work, but the municipality is working to increase employment opportunities within its own boundaries. With a focus on business attraction and expansion, Springfield welcomes companies such as Pineridge Hollow, a go-to destination in Oakbank. Comprised of a six-acre oasis of gardens, ponds and serenity, a locally sourced restaurant, a retail shop, and a wedding and event venue, the company is currently undergoing an expansion. Their newest offering, The Village, will house everything from antiques and food to health and wellness products in a streetscape environment, complete with a covered outdoor farmers market. Opening in Spring of 2022, this expansion will be a popular destination for residents and visitors to Springfield, offering a perfect dose of friendly, rural charm. Other innovative companies in the municipality include Berger, a producer of Horticulture blends with production sites across North America, including their newest location in Oakbank; and Parrish and Heimbecker, a family-owned Canadian Agribusiness with a recently added a grain elevator and Crops Input Centre, located in Dugald.
Growth is inevitable for the Rural Municipality of Springfield. With so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, recreational experiences, and diversity of small businesses and industry, the municipality is ready to meet the needs of all its communities. With increased housing options, employment opportunities, and infrastructure, Springwater will continue to offer an outstanding quality of life for all ages.
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AT A GLANCE
Rural Municipality of Springfield, Manitoba
What: Large, rural municipality; population 15,000+
Where: Eastern boundary of Winnipeg, Manitoba