"We used to be Manitoba's most beautiful town'


Neepawa council receives a wake-up call from an irate resident

By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

The Town of Neepawa council received what can only be termed a wake-up call at their meeting on May 15. Neil Turner, who lives on Broadway Ave., came to council and said, “People need to realize that our forefathers made Neepawa the most beautiful town in Manitoba. I am not one to stir the pot, but I did not move here years ago to live beside a garbage dump.”

Broadway Ave. is also known as the golf course road and is the location of 30 or more row-house condos. Turner said, “This area is becoming a slum hole due to all the garbage laying around and blowing around.” He says he has given up cleaning up his laneway due to the amount of refuse that blows onto his property. 

An examination of the property adjacent to Turner’s shows that the garbage dumpster is near the front of the condos' entrance driveway. Turner pointed out that a number of years ago, when he tried to develop the property himself into a six residence development, he was advised that he had to have paved streets and garbage stored at the back, out of sight, and a number of other rules that have not been applied to the development now on that same piece of land. The condos have no garages and only graveled back and front yards. There is literally no space or place to store possessions, garbage or recycling.

In response to Turner’s concerns, Mayor Adrian de Groot asked if this has been an ongoing problem. Operations manager, Denis Saquet said, “It has been going on for three to four years. There is a short-term clean-up, but never a long-term solution. De Groot said, “We have the ability, after due notice, to order a clean-up.”

The Town does have a property by-law covering unsightly property issues, but it has only been used occasionally. Under the bylaw, an offending property owner is given notice and after that, if it isn’t cleaned up, the Town either does the work or hires it done, and puts the costs against the taxes.

Turner summarized his presentation by saying, "We used to be Manitoba’s most beautiful town, but we aren’t going in that direction now."

The Broadway Ave. site wasn’t the only trouble spot for garbage. The back alley to the west of Mountain Ave. and between Hamilton and Mill St. at that time was the site of an ever increasing number of garbage and recycling dumpsters. On many occasions, the dumpsters were completely filled and overflowing. When the wind blew, the alley became a wind tunnel and the garbage and recycling blew out onto Hamilton Street. There was no control over who could use the Town provided open dumpsters at that site and other sites around town, so they become a de facto garbage transfer station in the middle of town. Since that time, the dumpsters have been replaced with garbage and recycling bins at each business which is much cleaner but still open to abuse.

In contrast, the Neepawa Shop Easy store has a private contract to securely store and remove recycling and garbage. Their dumpsters are enclosed in a chain-link structure, so the only authorized users can deposit material there. The high chain link fence contains the garbage for the most part from being windblown. This has no doubt been costly to the business but is certainly a better method than the open dumpsters.

Many citizens have noted that the growth in the town's size, coupled with the fact that people can’t take their garbage to the landfill located on the edge of town, has lead to a lot more garbage and recycling being blown all over the town. 

Editor’s note: This story originally was written in May following a meeting of Neepawa council. Shortly after the meeting, Mr. Turner asked us to hold off as some improvements in upkeep to the property were made but since then he says the situation hasn’t improved.