Vacant, burned houses in Winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates

Winnipeg community members in the city’s north end are raising concerns over four homes that have been attracting, what they identify as illegal activity.

vacant, burned houses in winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates

Advocates and residents want to see change, but there are some barriers.

The houses are in the 200 block of Powers Street. Three are on the same lot, while a fourth is separated by a back lane. Each show visible signs of charring, and are in clear disrepair.

vacant, burned houses in winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates
View image in full screen

An image of one of the currently vacant homes on Powers Street in Winnipeg that caught fire. Randall Paull / Global News

In an emailed statement to Global News, the William Whyte Neighbourhood Association (WWNA), said each went up in flames within the span of five days. The Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service (WFPS) said it believes this happened in April.

One resident, who will remain anonymous for safety reasons, said when the homes were lived in, some burned more than once.

“They fixed it up and they rented it out. Fire. Then it gets boarded up, fixed up again, rented out, and then another fire,” she said, adding she has had to be evacuated out of her home several times.

“I work from home, and (one day) I heard, like, a pop. I am pretty sure some type of Molotov (cocktail) or something must have been thrown into this house here,” she said.

More on Canada

“I looked out the window at the top of my stairs and saw smoke, and I thought at first one of the tenants who would do open air fires was doing his thing again. Then I take a look through the window in my office — no fire there, but I saw black, billowing smoke just covering the whole side of the property.”

Her reality is one that Darrell Warren, president of the WWNA, told 680 CJOB is not uncommon in the area.

“These homes fall prey to numerous fires. By the time they’ve had their second or third fire, they usually turn into piles of rubble and debris, and they can’t be rehabilitated,” he said.

But now that the homes are boarded up and vacant, the anonymous resident says she has seen people having open fires in the homes’ backyards, which breaks city bylaws.

vacant, burned houses in winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates
View image in full screen

Man having open fire in backyard of vacant property. Neighbourhood Submission

Other times, she has seen people sneaking into the homes — like just two weeks ago.

The email you need for the day's top news stories from Canada and around the world.

“Somebody moved one of the boards from the bottom basement window and crawled in there. So, you know, there’s people in there, and I’m not sure if they’re still in there, but they’re getting in there, and there’s no doubt they’re doing drugs,” she said.

Other community members vocalized similar concerns.

“Our community is really struggling with somethings. A lot of addiction. And so, sadly, when there’s that kind of concentration happening in places like this corner… it just ends up attracting a lot of negativity,” said Andrew Reimer.

“We’ve had a friend who overdosed in one of these places, and so now seeing them boarded up is just another step in seeing that trend on this corner,” he said.

Kent Dueck, executive director of Inner City Youth Alive (ICYA), believes the houses are hubs for criminal activity.

vacant, burned houses in winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates
View image in full screen

Kent Dueck stands outside of a vacant, burned home on Powers Street in Winnipeg. Randall Paull / Global News

“You have good community members, working with us and telling us, ‘OK, there’s drug deals going on in there. There’s this house on the corner here were they were putting … stuff that had been stolen. They were stashing there,'” he said, noting he has been in one of the homes and identified stolen goods himself.

Dueck says he’s had his eyes on the lot hosting three of the homes for about a decade, and wants to purchase it and make it into affordable housing, which Warren said could help.

“The answer is, let’s clean them up. Let’s get some builders in that will do infill housing and get them in there and build some new homes and get some new families in there.”

However, Dueck said it feels impossible with city permitting processes and a lack of cooperation from the property owner.

“It’s going to take us two years for us to get permits to tear this down so we don’t have to stare at this thing. And then if we’re going to try to do something about it, it’s going to be a flat and lot, and it’s going to take us 10 years to get a permit to build a house when we need housing in our city,” he said.

ICYA’s Step Up Construction program has bought two lots on Magnus Avenue for a similar project.

vacant, burned houses in winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates
3:26 Step Up Construction

“Boy is it hard to get through city permitting,” Dueck said, “It’s like it’s almost bent against the community.”

In a emailed statement, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service said, “We are currently reviewing City processes and exploring all avenues available to us to prevent lengthy demolitions from occurring and to expedite the remediation process. Part of this is finding ways to hold non-compliant property owners more accountable and to speed-up the remediation of these sites.”

Winnipeg city councillor for the area, Ross Eadie, said it is the property owner’s responsibility to clean and renovate the homes, but when they’re vacant, it’s hard to get the money to do so — and harder to start from scratch.

“There’s a huge cost to chop that, take it out. Or maybe the foundation is good and we could build on it. But the thing is, nobody’s got money to build on it. And, actually, nobody wants to build a brand-new house in William Whyte, which is really bad, right?” Eadie said.

He added that he and another councillor are trying to move a motion to revitalize the area.

“Everything is in such decay. Like yeah, we do have to worry about downtown, but we also have to worry about the rest of the inner city. It’s just awful,” he said.

Global News reached out to the property owner for comment, but they declined.

The anonymous resident urges change to happen soon.

“Every day these houses stand, they are a menace. I’ve already requested to have these properties put on the vacant registry list now that all three are vacant, and I’ve been in contact with my councillor about demolishing,” she said.

There’s a lot of families raising their kids here,” Reimer said. “They want their kids to be able to just grow up in a place that’s safe and where there’s hope.”

vacant, burned houses in winnipeg ‘a menace’: community members, advocates
2:18 Property owners of derelict buildings challenging city bylaw

OTHER NEWS

60 minutes ago

Liverpool stick prohibitive price on Alexander-Arnold with Real Madrid power play not ruffling Reds

60 minutes ago

England A will take on Australia A in November clash at The Stoop, RFU announce... as Steve Borthwick looks to fast-track new generation of formidable forwards to his senior side

60 minutes ago

iOS 18: Five most exciting new changes coming in Apple's huge iPhone update - including controversial 'cheater's paradise' feature

60 minutes ago

Ronnie O'Sullivan is eyeing up becoming the best player in ANOTHER sport when he retires from snooker... and the switch could see him net £600,000 in prize money from one event

60 minutes ago

Luka Modric, 38, signs new Real Madrid contract as the Champions League winners tie down veteran midfielder for another year after Toni Kroos' retirement - and confirm he will be the new club captain

1 hour ago

The Block 2024: Scott Cam takes to the skies and heads to 'paradise' island in hilarious new trailer for upcoming season

1 hour ago

Vince McMahon's sex-trafficking accuser seeks 'Celebrity Doctor' records and claims ex-WWE boss paid $51,000 for 'wellness clinic' to drug her and administer mysterious IV drip

1 hour ago

Simone Biles shows fans inside her 'forbidden Olympic closet' as the gymnastics star details her Tokyo 2020 nightmare in new Netflix show

1 hour ago

Tiger Woods reveals he couldn't sleep after Donald Trump assassination attempt and it was 'all we watched' on flight to The Open

1 hour ago

Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith both to hit two or more 100+ checkouts each NOW 4/1 - as second round action at the World Matchplay resumes in Blackpool tonight

1 hour ago

Video: Disturbing moment woman drowns in shallow end of Las Vegas pool while clutching handrail... as swimmers walk past her

1 hour ago

Video: Heartstopping footage shows cops race to dig girl, 16, out of deep San Diego beach sand hole that collapsed around her while tide closed in

1 hour ago

Video: Incredible moment man on night out climbs 20ft lamppost to rescue stranded seagull before sliding back down fireman-style

1 hour ago

Emmy nominations 2024: How to watch live

1 hour ago

Houston police asking for help in solving 2023 murder

1 hour ago

Insider: IndyCar, Firestone on clock to come up with plan to fix 'boring' Iowa races

1 hour ago

Kaizer Chiefs: Full list of Nabi’s transfer targets

1 hour ago

Russia sends antique T-54 tanks to Ukraine amidst ongoing conflict

1 hour ago

How to play the pullback in Alphabet, using options to limit your risk during the tech sell-off

1 hour ago

Davy Fitzgerald would 'definitely listen' to Galway approach

1 hour ago

The Ending Of Twisters Explained

1 hour ago

Ex-Trump adviser Peter Navarro released from prison

1 hour ago

Rural hospitals built during baby boom now face baby bust

1 hour ago

This Prime Day deal on the best Dyson airwrap alternative is too good to miss

1 hour ago

Trump says he would allow Fed Chair Powell to finish his term if re-elected

1 hour ago

Home Depot founder says Trump assassination attempt is a chance to 'carve a very significant place in history'

1 hour ago

Many US solar factories are lagging. Except those China owns

1 hour ago

RAK Energy Summit welcomes new partnerships with energy industry leaders

1 hour ago

The Best Facial Oils for Women Over 50 To Restore Moisture, Firmness and More

1 hour ago

Commanders 2024 training camp preview: Offensive tackle

1 hour ago

Glen Powell to finish degree while making new film

1 hour ago

Zach Edey is now a betting favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year

1 hour ago

Court ruling over Covid contracts deals embarrassing blow to Ursula von der Leyen

1 hour ago

Adele to take a break from music

1 hour ago

'We're forcing everyone away,' Trump says on Russia sanctions

1 hour ago

Huge changes to employment rights unveiled

1 hour ago

Sergio Perez ‘may well be most upset’ after data breakdown from Red Bull staff member

1 hour ago

New Covid advice issued by World Health Organisation as FLiRT wave hits

1 hour ago

DEWA issues around 60,000 NOCs in six months

1 hour ago

Welsh government invested £14 million in failed TVR factory bid

ALONGWALKER VIETNAM: Kênh khám phá trải nghiệm của giới trẻ, thế giới du lịch ALONGWALKER INDONESIA: Saluran untuk mengeksplorasi pengalaman para pemuda global