A Winnipeg city council committee voted Tuesday to hold over a decision to allow a business owner to buy a Notre Dame Avenue back lane in an effort to curb illegal activity in the area and stop speeders.
Dieter Scheffer owns Frank Motors at 575 Notre Dame Ave. and said after dark, the lane is used for prostitution and the drug trade.
“Pretty much every morning we are cleaning the parking lot of condoms and needles,” said Scheffer. “It’s not something that’s good for our customers and it’s not safe for the neighbourhood.”
Scheffer said vehicles detouring off Notre Dame at high rates of speed are compounding the problem.
“We’ve got vehicles coming out of the back door at all times. One of these times, someone is going to get hurt,” he said.
With two schools nearby, he said, speeding in the lane is a danger to everyone in the neighbourhood.
Scheffer’s solution is to buy a section of the lane, put up gates and close off the route during certain times.
Don Rooney lives nearby and said the lane is a problem.
“They do their drugs and sometimes there is condom wrappers here,” said Rooney. “Sometimes they actually bring the people here and do their work right here.”
But not everyone thinks gates are the solution. A company next door to Frank Motors uses the back lane dozens of times a week for deliveries and doesn’t want it closed.
Instead, the owner would rather see lights and cameras put up in the lane.
As for what it would cost, it's too early to say. Any negotiations would begin only if the idea receives city committee approval.
The property and development committee held over a decision until September, after city staff said they didn't consult nearby business owners about a possible back lane closure.