I'm not sure what brought this on, but a big discussion among the on-line community about downtown safety emerged recently. I guess it started with this article in the Spectator Tribune ...
Winnipeg’s most perpetuated myth: Downtown is dangerous
"Get downtown. Break the cycle of lies and misdirection that our local media outlets propagate. See for yourself what is going on. And remember, just because someone is brown doesn’t mean that they are going to gut you."
... which spawned this response in the same alternative media outlet ...
Winnipeg’s most perpetuated myth: A response
"saying that Winnipeg’s downtown is safe simply because I haven’t experienced violence, or so that my family isn’t worried about visiting in my ‘edgy’ neighbourhood doesn’t cut it if we are going to be real about the problems of race and class in the city."
... and this blog post ...
Entry number "I've lost count" re: safety in downtown Winnipeg
"Men don't have the same fear complex as women because in a purely physical sense, it is MUCH EASIER to physically intimidate a woman. As a woman, I know we're a much easier target than the average male. We carry giant purses and vaginas everywhere we go. We have much more to lose on very, very extreme levels.... and an on-going twitter conversation. The Winnipeg Internet Pundits will carry on the conversation on Wednesday with the author of the previous blog and some of the usual pundits.
Here is the discussion. It's so simple. Downtown Winnipeg has a crime problem, but it's also a great place with a lot to offer. How do we reconcile the two? How do we make people feel safe to be here, and how do we deal with what makes people afraid to come down here?"
I worked downtown for 14 years and never had a problem, but I also know people who have been assaulted, including somebody who was shot in the head and killed, although those incidents were a while back.
It's a complicated discussion and one I should probably stay out of ... actual safety vs perceived safety; safety of women vs men, safety during the day vs at night, et cetera. And what is safe? Is there some metric of Assaults per 1000 People Hours that defines the threshold of "safe"? Everybody agrees that more safe is better than less safe, but how safe is safe enough?
Oh look, somebody got stabbed.
Community centre funding
Arenas and swimming pools are crumbling all over the city. When Southdale Community Centre launched it's $9.4 million expansion, some accused it of queue jumping. Some accused elected officials of buying votes in a swing riding. Some complained about preferential treatment for a relatively affluent part of town.
But what's done is done. The expansion was completed one year ago, and now it's time to focus on spending scarce tax dollars on those other facilities that are in dire need of attention in areas of town were kids rely on ...
Wait... What's that? Southdale needs another half mil? Sure, here you go!
Oh stop complaining. They did have a Bud Spud & Steak to raise some of their own money you know.
PechaKucha is kind of like a mini Ted talk with shorter presentations. Volume 13 of PechaKucha Winnipeg is taking place this Thursday at the Park Theatre.
There is an interesting and diverse group of speakers. Should be a good evening. Maybe see you there.
Somebody named after my favourite Thanksgiving meal has started a new blog called Winnipeg Spends. He or she is monitoring the contracts that the city is awarding and all money that is being spent, and summarizing on the blog with bar charts and analysis.
Did you know that the city just spent $95,000 on gloves? Well I do, and that's because I read Winnipeg Spends !
Audience participation blog
As far as Winnipeg bloggers go, James Hope Howard is about as famous as they come (second only to Winnipeg Cat). If you're a fan of Slurpees and Murder, now is your chance to find out more about the author, because ... March is Ask James Anything Month at Slurpees and Murder!
Random act of heritage
Another one of Winnipeg's top local bloggers, Christian Cassidy, held a Random Act of Heritage this Sunday. It was a presentation and tour of the intrepid Arlington Bridge, which is really much more interesting than it sounds. The Arlington Bridge is the second oldest bridge in Winnipeg and was built using surplus parts from the Eiffel Tower.
That might not be true. I didn't actually make it to the event. I took advantage of the nice day to go for a big long bike ride up the Seine River instead, however I do have a picture from somebody else who was able to go:
This random act of heritage thing is a great idea. It is encouraging to see that the media picked up on it, and hopefully Mr.C does more of them. He needs to schedule them around my bike rides though.
Well, that's it for this week's edition of Around This Town. Tune in 3 months from now for next week's edition.
RIP Nick Ternette. Very few people worked harder to make their city a better place than him.