Corydon Avenue: Conflicts between area residents, intoxicated customers

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Corydon Avenue: Conflicts between area residents, intoxicated customers

Conflict between people who drink on the busy Corydon strip and residents of nearby streets could be reduced without restricting the ability of restaurants and lounges to operate, according to a city-commissioned study.

Taxi stalls, late-night transit and parking restrictions on residential streets could help prevent crowds of intoxicated people from wandering around the Corydon Village area after closing time, a nightly summertime occurrence that's led residents of the gentrifying neighbourhood to complain of noise, litter, fighting and public urination.

Miles Gould closes doors to his business at 11 p.m., partly out of concern for area residents.


Miles Gould closes doors to his business at 11 p.m., partly out of concern for area residents.

Last year, the City of Winnipeg commissioned a pair of studies to help plan the future growth of Corydon Village, one of the few areas of the city where a pedestrian-friendly commercial strip bisects a residential neighbourhood.

The first report, a detailed study of every aspect of the neighbourhood, will be used to help city planners come up with a development framework for the future. But a second report focused solely on the question of how residents and drinkers can better co-exist, based on the experiences of similar strips in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and St. John's, N.L.

The drinking-establishment study makes eight suggestions, half of which involve ways of clearing out patrons after 2 a.m., before they have a chance to annoy residents.

Other recommendations include beefing up the police presence and beautifying Corydon Village so visitors from other parts of Winnipeg will be less inclined to misbehave.

"Those all sound like amazing ideas," said Miles Gould, the manager of Fazzo, one of the newest restaurants on the 10-block Corydon strip.

In response to complaints from area residents in 2006, both the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and the City of Winnipeg's board of adjustment have heavily scrutinized all new restaurant and lounge proposals.

Fazzo, which won the right to operate on the premises of a former pharmacy, closes its doors at 11 p.m. every night -- partly to alleviate the concerns of area residents.

New parking areas for visitors, such as a park-and-ride lot at Confusion Corner, could also reduce the contact between drinkers and residents, the study suggests. But more police in the neighbourhood during evenings and weekends would do even more to combat a public perception the neighbourhood is not safe, said Katia von Stackelberg, executive director of the Corydon Avenue BIZ.

The upcoming development plan for the neighbourhood would do even more to reduce conflict, as the city will soon have a road map to help make decisions about new restaurants and bars, added Neil Greenslade, a Corydon Village resident who's active in the local residents' association.

"I'm not a puritan who wants to ban all drinking establishments. I patronize them myself," he said. "Any city you travel to, the main quality of that city is felt in the inner-city neighbourhoods. So any investment in planning those neighbourhoods is well-spent."

Both studies will come before city council's city-centre community committee on Tuesday. City planners will begin drawing up a formal plan for Corydon Village later this year.

Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasi, who represents the neighbourhood, said the road map will be crucial for keeping both residents and restaurant owners happy.

"You have a very busy business district and a dense residential district right up against each other," she said. "We hope to keep these things in balance."


Corydon co-existence

Suggestions for alleviating some of the tensions between Corydon Village residents and alcohol-serving establishments along the Corydon strip, based on successful practices in other Canadian cities:

Adding taxi stalls to Corydon Avenue and improving late-night transit to help crowds of partiers leave the neighbourhood more quickly at closing time.

Restricting parking on nearby residential streets to reduce the number of rowdy patrons who roam through the neighbourhood at closing time.

Creating new public parking facilities elsewhere, such as a park-and-ride lot.

Redeploying police officers to beef up the police presence during evenings and weekends.

Getting alcohol-serving businesses, Corydon-area residents, the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and the Winnipeg Police Service to sit down at regular meetings to improve communication.

Cleaning up graffiti and garbage more aggressively and rebranding the neighbourhood to prevent people who've consumed alcohol from thinking their actions will not affect the area.


-- Source: Corydon Avenue Drinking Establishments, a 2008 consultant's report commissioned by the city