‘This is a really important building’: Lions Place residents call on mayoral candidates for support

A group of residents at Lions Place is calling on Winnipeg’s next mayor to help prevent the sale of the non-profit housing complex.

Residents at the downtown Winnipeg building – located at 610 Portage Avenue – were informed in late July that the current owners can no longer afford to operate it. The 287-unit building is mainly home to tenants who are 55 and over, living on low to modest incomes.

A residents’ committee is now asking mayoral candidates to sign a “mayoralty pledge” to keep Lions Place non-profit. The pledge asks candidates to work with non-profit housing organizations, as well as the federal and provincial governments.

Committee member Gerald Brown has been at Lions Place for eight years. He’s worried the new owners will only care about money. “Financialization is the big term nowadays,” said Brown. “Which means, ‘get the building, make as much money out of it as possible, and then go away.’ We don’t want to be part of that.”

Tom Simms’ mother is a long-time resident at Lions Place. He says they just want to know where Winnipeg’s mayoral candidates stand on the sale of the building.

“Lions Place is the largest non-profit seniors building in the province, this is a really important building, we’ve got to make sure that it remains a non-profit, and we’d like to see the (mayoral candidates’) position on the kind of leadership they’d play on that issue,” said Simms.

Brown says he’s looking out for all the Lions Place residents who don’t have families to advocate for them. “I’m not the only one who’s the lonely bird in the tree,” he said. “There’s lots of people here who have no relatives and I want to make sure they get fair and equal treatment.”

The committee plans to hold a signing ceremony on Oct. 18th. Winnipeggers go to the polls to elect a new mayor and city council on Oct. 26.

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