Winnipeg prohibits tenting underneath bridges

WINNIPEG – The City of Winnipeg has introduced a new policy prohibiting the use of bridges as shelters.

The city says it has taken a new non-tolerance stance on camping and fire under bridges, and put more than two dozen new signs in areas around 13 different buildings. Officials say they are increasingly concerned about the safety of those using the bridges as a shelter. Incidents in recent months resulted in that concern reaching a tipping point in February when a person died after an aerosol can exploded in a campfire on Higgins Avenue.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service says it is having a hard time dealing with the dangers associated with storage under bridges. The city says nearly 100 fires occurred under and around bridges this year, almost twice as many as last year, and proponents believe there are more than 100 camps in various locations in the city.

Winnipeg workers plan to remove campsites and flammable materials that are within three meters of each bridge. But the city also works with organizations to help those who don’t have permanent housing, including End Homelessness Winnipeg and the Main Street Project. The city says the goal is to work together on accommodation that is free for those who accept it.

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