Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
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A story titled The sad state of Portage Place had readers happy to contribute their two-cents' worth.
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I remember when this mall was built to save downtown. I also remember the late '80s was the beginning of the rumbling that the Jets needed a new arena.
No one at the time had the foresight to put the money and land toward a new arena project. No new arena ultimately cost the city the Jets 1.0. The buzz around the MTS Centre seems to indicate that a downtown arena does much more for the area than a mall ever would. To me this is a failure of vision of the city leadership at the time.
Just spend one lunch at the food court and you'll know why people stay away from Portage Place.
Yes, I worked for 13 years in Portage Place. Every time we stepped into that food court we would hum the tune from the canteen scene in Star Wars.
It's very creepy to stand and wait for a bus outside Portage Place or even when you have to "cut through" in order to get to our church it can get very sketchy. Within two minutes of coming in the front doors you are accosted by persons looking for money or trying to sell you something -- and it's not clothing.
-- musical one
Humbug, I work downtown and I go every weekday at noon to Portage Place to buy lunch. I also use transit to commute from home to work and back and take the bus at Portage Place.
Nobody bugs me, nobody hassles me, nobody asks for anything.
I still remember when there was a huge Club Monaco, a large Holt Renfew, and other high end retailers on the second floor. Now it's either an empty storefront, dollar stores, some sort of half-arsed put-together store (like the shoe repair or junk book store) or an office of some type.
I walk through there on my lunch almost every day and think that it should be so much more considering the heavy amount of foot traffic, but then upon closer look it only appears that one third of the traffic might actually have a job and disposable income. The other two-thirds are just hanging around killing time.
Portage Place can be saved. However, it means the left wing liberals have to put on blindfolds for a bit. The police will have to step on civil rights a little bit. Stop loitering. Period. Make it difficult for "non-shoppers" to hang around. Create a no pan handling area. No exceptions. Arrest people for public drunkenness every day. Park a van out back, and fill it up over, and over again for 60 days, and people will learn, and behaviours will change. If the city really wants to fix the problem it can. Just don't get caught up in the "working poor," "racism" garbage the plagues any discussion on solutions.
Portage Place is the perfect location for a downtown supermarket. I'd like to see the Lucky Supermarket open up there, along with an area of market stalls to support startup businesses.
Used to go there but very little now. No reason except to park to go to a movie or MTS Centre. If the drug dealers and thugs are there... keep the place open for them so that these rats don't head to other parts of town. At least we know they are all together. A major crackdown will have them scrambling to other places.
Polo Park underwent a major renovation about a year before Portage Place was constructed. Cadillac Fairview was behind both projects, and plans appeared very similar at the time. Both were touted as major retail centres. Polo Park survived, and with some modifications to the original plans, seems to have thrived. Portage Place became dubious within a couple of years of opening. A lot of businesses and buildings were destroyed to create the sparkling new Portage Place. But it quickly returned to slum status.
-- Gordon Arnold
I was in high school when Portage Place opened-I loved going there- great stores, great restaurants to eat at. I started working downtown a few years ago and have only been there once- it was just so sad, how it's changed. There was nothing. I feel bad for the retailers.
Maybe....we could trade it for some land on Kenaston???
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 13, 2013 A10
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