A formerly dark and foreboding passageway got a little brighter Thursday morning as a team of Point Douglas residents and activists applied white paint to the grey walls beneath the Main Street CPR overpass.
"You can see how dark and ugly it is here, and this is the entryway to the North End and people who have to walk to work, walk to places, have to walk through this ugly place," said Sel Burrows, chair of the Point Douglas Residents Committee.
Burrows and a team made up of members of the Manitoba Métis Federation, Core Pride, the North End BIZ, Take Pride Winnipeg and the PDRC Green Team, took paint rollers to the underpass in an effort to make it feel less intimidating.
"When people come in this area, they're not going to think, oh what an ugly place the North End is. Because the North End's a beautiful, wonderful place," Burrows said.
The underpass already received new lighting in April through a partnership with Manitoba Hydro. The new paint job is the next phase of a project guided by the principles of crime prevention through environmental design, or CEPTED, which focuses on how light can help prevent crime, Burrows said.
Residents had complained of feeling unsafe when walking through the underpass, particularly at night, Burrows told CBC News in April. He said women have been approached walking through the corridor.
Point Douglas MLA Bernadette Smith also joined the painting crew. She said the project is an example of the residents taking pride in their community.
"The Point Douglas Residents Committee wanted to beautify the community, make this space brighter and lighter so that when people are coming into the area, that they can see how vibrant it is," she said.
Burrows said it shows that people care about their community.
"This is one of the many things that inner-city groups are doing to make our community better. We're not just depending on outsiders to come in. I live here, we're making it better ourselves."