Growing garbage and homeless encampment troubling for Winnipeg apartment building

WINNIPEG — Residents of an apartment building want a homeless encampment and a buildup of litter along the Assiniboine River gone, but the city says it isn’t that easy.

Residents at 21 Mayfair Place said garbage behind the building has been an issue for years and has been made worse in recent weeks as a homeless encampment started to form.

“It’s extremely frustrating since a lot of the tenants that face the river have a nice view of the river, but now they also have a view of garbage,” said Berthold Funk, who has lived in the building for six years.

“We definitely have a lot of noise complaints, and we have a lot of single ladies in the building that are scared to go outside by themselves to go to their car when they are going to work,” Funk said.

Residents at 21 Mayfair Place are also concerned with the safety of the people living in the encampment.

On Halloween night, a fire broke out and burned down one of the tents.

“I’d like to see these people have some sort of safe place to go,” said Micah Zacharias, another resident in the building.

Sherri Rollins, councillor for the ward, is also in charge of homelessness strategies for the city. She said she’s aware of the encampment.

“There have been many concerns like stealing electricity, like safety and security concerns, and that is what we are trying to convey to the Winnipeg Police Service on a weekly basis,” said Rollins.

Rollins said dealing with encampments is tough because of the human element, and the city tries to use a human-rights based approach.

In a statement to CTV News the City of Winnipeg said:

“In the case of the encampment in question, we have made contact with both the residents and community supports, and have also spoken directly with concerned community members. We are actively working on a plan for this encampment and others, and anticipate a solution in the coming weeks that takes all parties’ needs into consideration.”

With the city working on transitioning the occupants of the camp, apartment residents aren’t confident the mess left behind will be cleaned up.

“I would like to see it dismantled and cleaned up properly because it’s right by the river and you have all sorts of garbage flowing into the river,” said Funk. 

“I don’t feel like leaving litter along the river like how it is right now is going to beneficial in keeping our water clean,” said Zacharias. “Increasing the amount of trash is not going to help in that fight.” 

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