July 6, 2020

Winnipeg
25° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Parkade seen as a place to party

Impark takes steps to improve safety

The Impark parkade on Smith Street, across from the Marlborough Hotel, has been plagued by disturbances from intoxicated people. Below, empty liquor bottles litter a corner of the parkade.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The Impark parkade on Smith Street, across from the Marlborough Hotel, has been plagued by disturbances from intoxicated people. Below, empty liquor bottles litter a corner of the parkade.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/1/2015 (2007 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Two stalls from where she parks downtown, Barbara Bowes examines the remains of a party in the Smith Street parkade.

"There's a Liquor Mart about three blocks down, so they go there and then come here to party," Bowes said, pointing to the empty whisky bottles and broken glass strewn on the concrete and graffiti scribbled on the walls.

"They are here after 3 o'clock on any given day. Fridays are especially bad."

Bowes, whose office is across the street, said she is concerned for her safety and that of co-workers in the parkade. She knows of other businesses that have moved their employee parking elsewhere for safety reasons.

The stalls along the street level are in view, but parking spots toward the back level are hidden by a concrete wall.

'We have not only our own staff visiting the garage, but we have both the Downtown BIZ and the Winnipeg police in the garage on a regular basis'‐ Julian Jones, Impark's senior vice-president of corporate development

"We had to move five women (parking spots) from the back (hidden) level to the front of the parkade in view because they were scared. There was too much partying back there," said Bowes, who writes a column for the Free Press.

Bowes said she believes a lack of employee presence on site has made it easier for people to congregate there.

"All these parkades... none of them have an attendant. Whether they have security cameras or not doesn't matter. If someone is going to hit you, they're going to hit you and the camera will just capture it," Bowes said.

Bowes has been in constant contact with Impark, which owns the parkade, and said she is pleased with steps Impark has taken to improve safety.

"They've assigned a janitor full time to clean up every day. They've given us a direct number to call if we have disturbances. They also did construction so you now need a pass to get access to the stairway," Bowes said. "So now the stairway is safe, because before it was not. It was filthy."

Julian Jones, Impark's senior vice-president of corporate development, said the company is aware of the safety concerns and is addressing the situation.

"We have slightly more hours for the attendant than we used to," Jones said. "We have not eradicated the on-site presence. I don't think that is the issue. The challenges are really external to the facility.

"We have not only our own staff visiting the garage, but we have both the Downtown BIZ and the Winnipeg police in the garage on a regular basis," Jones said.

Jones said police have constant access to the garage and have been provided with access cards.

"We've been working hard, both with the Downtown BIZ and the local police, to make sure that the parkade is as safe as possible, and we're also working with the owner to explore additional changes to the garage, which could make it safer," he said.

Shawn Matthews, supervisor for safety and development with the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, said parkades get special attention. The Downtown Watch ambassadors patrol areas where people may feel unsafe.

"We are the eyes and ears of downtown," Matthews said. "When people who may be causing a disturbance see the patrols, they tend to leave because they know that we phone the police."

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ provides a safe-walk program in which people can call to be walked to their cars.

There is also an outreach program called the Community Homeless Assistance Team (CHAT).

Jason Syvixay, managing director of the Downtown BIZ, said they have helped more than 50 people in the past two years find permanent residences or get back to their communities. Preventive programs, such as CHAT, aim to find a permanent solution for homelessness and in turn, make the downtown streets a safer place.

"Our outreach workers focus on relationship-building to respond to the needs of the community," Syvixay said. "They play more of an advocate role in connecting people to the support they need."

 

-- with files from Ashley Prest

erin.debooy@freepress.mb.ca

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

History

Updated on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 7:46 AM CST: Replaces photo

The Free Press will close this commenting platform at noon on July 14.

We want to thank those who have shared their views over the years as part of this reader engagement initiative.

In the coming weeks, the Free Press will announce new opportunities for readers to share their thoughts and to engage with our staff and each other.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us