Bear Clan Patrol tests West End route

The Bear Clan Patrol is testing the waters in Winnipeg's West End.

Organizer James Favel hopes U of W community will keep up weekly searches

Bear Clan Patrol volunteers patrol Winnipeg's North End but now groups are being created in Brandon and Selkirk, as well as communities outside Manitoba. (The Canadian Press)

The Bear Clan Patrol is testing the waters in Winnipeg's West End. 

Last Wednesday, the North End group patrolled the area for the first time after gathering at the University of Winnipeg.

"It's no different except it's a little to the left, you know what I'm saying?" said James Favel said, executive director of the group on Thursday. "We went down McMicken yesterday, between Sargent and Ellice, and we found 20 needles, some of them still with blood and gunk in them. It's pretty disturbing."

Favel said the team hopes to keep it going on Wednesday nights. 

"They are going to be a branch of ours here in the city, and I think that we're going to be working together very closely," said Favel.

'Stay safe'

Kevin Settee, president of the University of Winnipeg Students Association, said he secured space on campus for the group to meet after members expressed interest in getting a West End patrol together.

"We're just testing it out to see how it goes," Settee said. 

Settee said he was shocked by the group's finds and pleasantly surprised by the community response. 

"On the streets people are like — they're very happy to see the Bear Clan Patrol in the West End, like, 'It's so good to see you on the streets.' And lots of people are driving by just yelling 'Stay safe.'"

Patrollers gave out care packages with toiletries, food and water. They also stopped in to say hi at the Central Mosque and introduce themselves. 

Settee said if people keep coming out, they'll keep offering space at the university.