Artspace at 30 ! - My column in today's Winnipeg Free Press is about the former Gault Brothers' Warehouse, better known as Artspace. In recent years we've taken developmen...
1 day ago
Ladies and Gentlemen, In response to several reports indicating questionable safety in the area surrounding the Radisson Hotel in downtown Winnipeg a Security Assessment was conducted, in conjunction with the Winnipeg Police Service, by Air Canada Corporate Security. Recent environmental issues have forced approximately 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba to numerous hotels in the downtown area. Instances of public intoxication, resulting in several downtown locations being susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity, have been observed by local Police. Based on concern generated by Crew Reports, Corporate Security, and keeping in mind our obligation, to the extent possible, for ensuring the safety of layover locations, a decision has been made to relocate. Alternative downtown layover options were investigated, and while The Inn at the Forks is considered secure, as a boutique hotel they were not able to accommodate our crews. We considered locations available outside the downtown core and while our preference was the Clarion at Polo Park they, as well, were not interested in accommodating our crews. For now, we have arranged through API, to have Crews layover at the Sandman Hotel and Suites. Information on the Sandman Hotel and Suites is found at www.sandmanhotels.com/en/hotels/manitoba/winnipegairport.php. We will certainly revisit the downtown area once the present situation improves. Authorities anticipate displaced people to be an issue for another 12 months. Best Regards,
Captain Jeff Dennis Manager, Flying Operations
So, here is what I've seen in my time living downtown. I am going to focus on the negative first, and then go into the positives, because there are lots of good things about the area.
Most recently, there has been a man hanging around outside my apartment every afternoon, and he bothers everyone that walks by for money. He's called me a bitch for telling him a) no and b) to get off the private property. Really, I'm a bitch because I don't want to give you money and because I don't appreciate you trespassing? Eat a dick.
My apartment has a convenience store attached to it. There's this wonderful Korean family that runs it and they are all super sweet. There's an ATM there I sometimes use. One day I came downstairs to use it and there was a sign on it saying it was broken. As I went to walk away, the owner of the store told me the machine actually worked, he just put the sign up because he was sick of the drug dealers coming in off the street to use it to conduct their business.
Some other fun things about downtown. Hmmmm... well, I live down the street from a Manitoba Housing complex that is full of equal parts welfare bums and unmedicated crazy people, all of whom seem to wander over to the City Place food court to loiter all day. There's one particular crazy man that will try to sell you anything he can steal. One time he tried to sell me a computer monitor for five bucks. A steal of deal, literally. Mostly, these people order a McDonald's coffee and then hang around the mall all day, smelling up the place, bumming smokes and change and in some extreme cases, publicly masturbating.
Last week a friend saw a man just hanging out, bleeding from the head, chilling at the fountain on the main floor. He also told me there were unsupervised little kids throwing pudding cups off the second floor.
I've seen Air Canada flight crews take some excessive harrassment from drunks as the crews tried to check in at the Radisson on more than one occasion. And I don't blame them for this move a second, however thoughtless a couple of their comments in their discussion of the issue might have been.
I do blame the people who persist in claiming that the solution is silence or propaganda. We need to stop talking about or excusing these problem, and to start demanding that certain indifferent public officials in both levels of local government earn their pay and fix the problem instead.
Other cities have cleaned up their downtowns and dramatically reduced petty, nuisance and violent crimes in public areas. We can, too, but only if someone gets off their ass.