WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg business is speaking out after spending a year and a half dealing with the city trying to stop illegal dumping and over flowing garbage bins.
Mayberry Fine Art opened on McDermot Avenue in the Exchange District 14 years ago but its owner says over the past 18 months they’ve spent too much time focusing on a increasingly frustrating site left out their backdoor.
In the back lane there are five dumpsters that belong to different businesses in the area. Bill Mayberry, who owns the gallery, said not all have locks on them and many sit surrounded by garbage, sometimes for weeks. According to Mayberry and his employees, city by-law officers are failing when it comes to enforcement.
According to the city’s website there are a number of by-laws surrounding the issue and Mayberry said none are being dealt with.
Community by-law enforcement services respond to concerns about garbage and illegal dumping. It’s officers work with community groups to identify areas of concern, and target enforcement efforts. But Mayberry said no one is being held accountable.
“We often have clients who will walk from Portage and Main. We purposely put a bell on our backdoor and we painted our backdoor so it looks nice, its a shortcut for customers,” said Mayberry. “They have to walk past a gauntlet of garbage. It’s just unacceptable.”
Mayberry said some businesses in the area allow their bins to overflow and others are illegally dumping garbage in the open bins. According to the city’s site, this could result in a fine of up to $2,000.
“People talk about the Exchange as a place to go, the restaurants, galleries, but we are constantly dealing with this garbage problem,” he said. “It’s unacceptable.”
There has already been one fire started in the bins, which had been placed in front of the gallery’s back door, and scorched the building.
Mayberry’s employees have been in contact with the City of Winnipeg, 311 and by-law enforcement officers on multiple occasions in an attempt to get the area cleaned up.
The email, phone and social media correspondences go back as far as Nov. 7, 2014. The company has kept a log of every complaint since. Many of which took weeks to be addressed. There are dozens of pages that include call logs of complaints to 311, photographs over the 18 months that have been sent to the city, pages of emails asking for help from city officials. Employees have even taken to social media in an attempt to get answers.
Global News reached out to the city multiple times Wednesday for an on-camera interview but was denied. Hours after those phone calls the owner of Mayberry’s says a by-law officer came by to investigate.
In an email a city spokesperson said they were ‘aware of the specific complaint and are working towards a resolution’ and then added a reminder that residents with concerns about illegal dumping should call 311.