As elected representatives for downtown Winnipeg, we have a responsibility to ensure that residents can live in their communities with the protections afforded to them under the law including Neighbourhood Livability By-laws (1/2008).
Since Friday, February 4, area residents have been subjected to incessant noise due to honking and other blaring sounds from those gathered in proximity to the Manitoba Legislature with trucks and vehicles. As elected officials for the area, we have heard several reports about how this noise is having negative impacts on residents’ mental, physical and emotional health. This noise has been measured by some residents to be well above permissible levels resulting in several days of increased anxiety, no sleep, and frustration. We are deeply concerned. This is unacceptable.
These actions have resulted in downtown businesses losing income at a time where they can least afford to do so. Reported incidents in the downtown have increased including incidents of public and targeted harassment including homophobia, racism and gender-based harassment.
Many downtown residents are students, seniors, have babies and small children, work shift work including overnights, or have sensory needs whose lives has been negatively affected by the excessive noise disruptions. Quite simply, this is harmful and is not a sustainable environment for people to be expected to thrive in let alone live in.
With the Manitoba Legislature grounds being located on Broadway, there’s a long history of downtown Winnipeg being the place for people to protest for specific causes with the expectation that by-laws are followed and respected, including the Neighbourhood Livability By-law (1/2008).
Our downtown community is diverse, dynamic and incredibly caring. People make a point of looking after their neighbours and take pride in building communities which create space for people of all identities and experiences.
As downtown political representatives we must underline the public safety failures of laws that are not being respected and not recognizing the impacts of their actions on those living in close proximity. Area residents have the right to live in their homes without being harmed, or to go get groceries without the fear of being targeted.
We ask that action be taken to immediately address the persistent noise and street level harassment.
Leah Gazan, MP for Winnipeg Centre
Uzoma Asagwara, MLA for Union Station
Sherri Rollins, City Councillor for Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry