Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Biz wants back lane frequented by sex-trade workers, drug dealers closed

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A Notre Dame Avenue business owner wants the city to close the back lane behind his firm because of the increased vehicle traffic from local sex-trade workers and drug dealers has become a hazard.

Dieter Scheffer, owner of Frank Motors, said the situation in the lane has deteriorated in the last five years, adding he believes most of that is the result of the criminal activity.

"That trade (prostitution and drug-dealing) has brought a lot of car traffic that we didn’t have before and we’re getting a lot of people speeding down the back lane, which is dangerous," Scheffer said. "We’ve seen prostitutes in cars speeding down the back lane.

"We know who the local drug traffickers are… We see them blasting down the back lane."

Scheffer has made an application to close half of the back lane, from Lydia Street to the back lane that runs between Lydia and Kate Street to the east, and buy it from the city.

City planners support the application, citing concerns from police and the local business organization support Scheffer.

The issue will be heard Tuesday afternoon at a hearing before the area community committee.

An administrative report states motorists are also using the back lane during the day as an alternate route when Notre Dame is congested.

An excerpt from a West End BIZ patrol report states the problems in the back lane are legitimate.

"Patrol staff regularly notices a large amount of condoms in the back lane," the report states. "Drivers cutting through the back lane commonly fail to follow speed limits, endangering the safety of the neighbourhood residents and students of the nearby schools."

Scheffer owns the adjacent property on Lydia Street and his long-term plans involve creating an extended garage with drive-through capabilities.

The city must first close the lane before it can be sold to Scheffer.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca


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