Making our city a safer place for women and girls

Councillor Gilroy, the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, and Winnipeg Safe City Steering Committee members

Councillor Gilroy, the Honourable Rochelle Squires, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, and Winnipeg Safe City Steering Committee members

I was deeply honoured to be part of an announcement last week to bring forward new prevention measures, and supports to help women and girls feel safe on our streets. The Winnipeg Safe Cities initiative, in partnership with the Manitoba Government and many organizations that work directly with women affected by sexual violence, is introducing a Winnipeg Safe City Scoping Study, a comprehensive report that uses national and local data and the voices of local women to describe the experiences and realities of women in Winnipeg. This study is a critical step forward in identifying, researching, and eliminating sexual violence in our city. I look forward to working together with our partners to implement the recommendations of this study and to do everything we can to support safer public spaces.

Other new initiatives that were announced include:

  • the Winnipeg Safe City website,, which will feature program information, reports and resources for the community;
  • the Winnipeg Transit Request Stop Program, which allows passengers to request a stop between designated bus stops after 7 p.m. and get off the bus closer to their home or desired location; and
  • the Taxicab Passenger Safety for Women brochure, created in partnership with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization, which will be available in six languages (Arabic, Cree, English, French, Ojibway, Tagalog).

Read the full news release here:

2017 Budget Community Consultations

Road improvements in Daniel McIntyre on Burnell at St. Matthew's. Credit: Brian Bowman's Twitter

Road improvements in Daniel McIntyre on Burnell at St. Matthew’s. Credit: Brian Bowman’s Twitter

The preliminary 2017 Capital and Operating budgets will be released on November 21st. Make your voice heard and share your feedback, ideas, and suggestions on the city issues that matter to you at one of the community consultations being organized by the City of Winnipeg beginning in mid-October:

  • Wednesday, October 12: North Centennial Recreation and Leisure Facility, 90 Sinclair Street, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 13: Jonathan Toews Community Centre, 1188 Dakota Street, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, October 27: St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Avenue, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, October 28: Millennium Library, 251 Donald Street, 11:30-2:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 29: Henderson Library, 1050 Henderson Highway, 9:00-11:30 a.m.

You are also welcome to share your input by contacting my office at: 204-986-5953, or by emailing:

September 12th Winnipeg Free Press article: “Go West (End), young business”

Go West (End), young business

Neighbourhood garners attention

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Brock Peters, owner of the Strong Badger Coffeehouse at 679 Sargent Ave., searched the city before settling his new business in the young, diverse, walkable West End neighbourhood.</p>

Brock Peters, owner of the Strong Badger Coffeehouse at 679 Sargent Ave., searched the city before settling his new business in the young, diverse, walkable West End neighbourhood.

When Winnipeg entrepreneur Brock Peters was looking for a location for his new coffeehouse, he was hoping to find one in an “up-and-coming” neighbourhood, rather than in a well-established one.

The neighbourhood he chose was the West End, the sprawling area sandwiched between the downtown and Polo Park.

“The more I talked to people, especially people in my age group (20s and 30s), the more I got the impression it is a neighbourhood on the way up,” Peters said during a recent interview.

“A lot of people my age are renting or buying starter homes in the area, and some other new businesses are popping up, like the Feast (Cafe & Bistro) on Ellice (Avenue).”

Peters said he also liked the fact it’s a diverse neighbourhood, and a very walkable one, as well.

“It also didn’t hurt that the rent is quite a bit more reasonable here than it is on Corydon (Avenue) or Osborne (Avenue),” he said.

So when the main floor of a small retail/residential building at 679 Sargent Ave. became available, the writer and former bookstore employee grabbed it.

After doing some renovations, the 600-square-foot space became the home of Strong Badger Coffeehouse, which began serving locally sourced coffees, teas and baked goods Aug. 2.

Strong Badger is one of 29 new businesses that have opened in the West End in roughly the first seven months of 2016, according to data compiled by the West End Business Improvement Zone (BIZ).

The growth comes on the heels of 49 new businesses that opened in the area in 2015.

Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner, the BIZ executive director, said Peters isn’t the only one who thinks the West End is an up-and-coming neighbourhood.

“We have been hearing that a lot. Braden Smith, chief planner for the City of Winnipeg… made that comment at our AGM (annual general meeting) last year,” she said.

“We’ve also heard a lots of people say Sargent (Avenue) has a new vibrancy to it.”

Joe Kornelsen, the BIZ promotion and development co-ordinator, noted Leighton Fontaine, who was the chef at the former Osborne Village Café in the Osborne Village Motor Inn, also plans to open a new eatery — Village Café — in a building near the corner of Sargent Avenue and Young Street.

Kornelsen said Peters is correct in thinking a lot of younger people are moving into the area.

According to the West End BIZ’s Open for Business report, the area’s population is younger than the Winnipeg average, with a larger portion of its 36,000 residents being people being between 20 and 44 years of age.

Kornelsen said some of the factors helping to draw younger people to the area are the fact it’s one of the most affordable neighbourhoods in the city, it’s walkable, and it’s close to the downtown — which appeals to University of Winnipeg students and those who prefer to walk or cycle to school or work or wherever.

Another factor is some of the new businesses in the area have what Kornelsen described as a “really cool vibe to them.”

(Examples he gave were Strong Badger, Barn Hammer Brewing Co., which opened in July at 595 Wall St., and Sleepy Owl Bread, which opened in late 2014 at 751 Wall St.)

He noted before he opened his new coffeehouse, Peters met with a number of community groups to get feedback on some of the things he could do to make his business a good fit for the neighbourhood.

“He wanted it to be a space the community could really identify with, and he put a lot of extra work into that before opening. It was really neat to see that kind of social conscience, which we see in so many of our businesses,” Kornelsen said.

Because this is his first business venture, Peters said he’s keeping it pretty simple for now.

However, he plans to add some new features — including live music and/or book or poetry readings — in the near future. The latter would dovetail nicely with the small selection of used books he sells, as well as with his longer-term plans to sell small, independently published magazines and books.

“To me, a coffeehouse isn’t a coffeehouse if doesn’t have some kind of books going on,” Peters said. “And for me, the idea of a coffee shop is to be a little more holistic than just this quest for the perfect cup of coffee.

“I’ve had a mediocre cup of coffee, but it was good because I was also watching a singer-songwriter or I was reading a good book.”

Peters would also like to expand his menu to include things such as soups and simple sandwiches. But that’s for a little further down the road, when he can afford to hire some employees.

He said he’s pleased with the response his one-man operation has received so far.

“It hasn’t been lineups busy, but busy enough. And what’s encouraging is that a lot of people from the neighbourhood have been coming in and saying they’re glad (Strong Badger is there).”

Know of any newsworthy or interesting trends or developments in the local office, retail, industrial or multi-family residential sectors? Let real estate reporter Murray McNeill know at the email address below, or at 204-697-7254.

Conversations with the Councillor poster high-res

The Metro: Neighbourhood Forum (August 24)

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