‘Joyous’ day for Burrows-area residents as city finally tackles growing garbage pile

A pile of garbage in a Burrows-area back lane is finally getting cleaned up by the City of Winnipeg after months of complaints from neighbouring residents.

The eyesore, centred mostly around a property near Flora and Selkirk avenues, included used needles and other hazardous materials, leading neighbours to raise safety concerns, especially around children who live in the area.

For Roger Daignault, who has been leading the fight to have the garbage removed, Wednesday’s cleanup is a step in the right direction — finally.

“It just makes it a very joyous day. It’s nice to see,” he said. “We’ve got neighbours coming out, all with smiles on their face.

“We got told two days ago that it was going to be done, so we got really excited about that, and when it didn’t happen, we (said), ‘OK, another person told us a fib.’

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“Then, I woke up this morning, and you’ve got three trucks back here and a front-end (loader). I’m happy. I’m tickled pink. I just hope it stays this way.”

Click to play video: 'Residents say city failed to deliver on promise to get rid of garbage in Winnipeg’s north end'

Residents say city failed to deliver on promise to get rid of garbage in Winnipeg’s north end

In a statement Tuesday, Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham said the persistent problem was unacceptable.

“I empathize with homeowners in the area,” the mayor said.

“City crews have done several clean-ups of this block over the past few years, and issued fines to multiple property owners. However, illegal dumping in this area continues to be a problem, so my office will work with Coun. (Ross) Eadie and the administration to explore other options.

“I encourage all citizens to report illegal dumping activity to 311. And I remind violators that paying for bulky waste pick-up or a trip to the landfill is a lot less expensive than a $600 to $4,000 fine.”

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City crews clean up a long-standing garbage pile in the Burrows neighbourhood Wednesday. Sam Brownell / Global News

Eadie, whose Mynarski ward includes the site in question, said situations like this could be put to rest with a consolidation of the city’s water and waste departments.

“Right now there’s three different divisions that handle garbage in different ways,” Eadie said.

“We need to consolidate it and then we can establish some proactive programs.”

Eadie said he’d like to see more community groups follow the example of the William Whyte Residents Association, which has taken matters into its own hands in the past as part of an ongoing battle against trash, by renting a large garbage bin for a day or two and encouraging residents to dump their trash in it.

“When they do a spring cleanup, in certain areas, they’ll get a super big bin, and they’ll advertise it…. They’ll say, ‘People, if you’ve got to get rid of it, there’s going to be this really big bin at this corner, but it’s only there for a day — get your garbage in there, don’t dump it down the back lane.’”

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Click to play video: 'Garbage piling up between Flora and Selkirk Avenues in Winnipeg'

Garbage piling up between Flora and Selkirk Avenues in Winnipeg

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