City says permanent garbage bin at Winnipeg encampment ‘not feasible’

An advocate for Winnipeg’s homeless community says he understands the frustration of those who blocked traffic Monday to protest the lack of a garbage bin for their encampment.

Al Wiebe told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg that he’s urging city officials to reconsider and listen to those affected.

A city spokesperson said in a statement that a permanent bin isn’t a feasible solution, due to concerns that a bin could exacerbate the problem.

“Unlocked bins placed in a public space attract unintended and unwanted users, like those seeking to illegally dump renovation waste,” the spokesperson said.

“We will continue to work with our community partners to find a solution for the location, which may include regularly scheduled waste pick-up or one of many other options.”

Read more: ‘We’re not pigs’: Protestors demanding trash bin shut down Point Douglas street Monday

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Wiebe said he doesn’t agree with that argument, and adds people living in tents deserve receptacles to put their litter — and have needed them for quite some time.

“It’s been a problem since (the start of) COVID,” Wiebe said.

“Remember — people who are experiencing homelessness were eating all of their meals outside, whether it was plus 30 or minus 30, and there was garbage all around because there were not enough garbage receptacles.”

Although Wiebe said the tactic of strewing garbage on the street to block traffic may not have been the most appropriate response, he can relate to people being frustrated with a lack of response after repeated asks.

“How do you get attention when they’re not paying attention to you? Of course, this is just going to create another negative narrative with the general public about garbage being in the middle of Higgins.”

Protest spokesman Robert Russell. Global News

On Monday, Robert Russell, speaking on behalf of residents of the camp, told Global News that the group wants its space to be clean and sanitary, and that the unsightly mess is not indicative of the way they want to live.

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“We’re not pigs. We’re just like everyone else. We might be homeless, or we live in our tents, but we’re not out here to be pigs,” Russell said.

“People are driving by taking pictures and thinking that we’re pigs, and it’s not our fault. We’re waiting for the city to put up the bin so we can get rid of the garbage.”

In its statement, the city said talks are ongoing to come up with a sustainable solution.

Click to play video: '‘We’re not pigs’: Protestors demanding trash bin shut down Point Douglas street Monday' ‘We’re not pigs’: Protestors demanding trash bin shut down Point Douglas street Monday

‘We’re not pigs’: Protestors demanding trash bin shut down Point Douglas street Monday

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