Winnipeg bus shelter repairs cost about $700K over 15 months

Winnipeg bus shelter repairs cost about $700K over 15 months

Winnipeg spent roughly $700,000 on its bus shelters spanning over 15 months. This has urged city and community leaders for more support for the unhoused population that has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winnipeg transit

Winnipeg spent nearly $700,000 was spent repairing vandalism to Winnipeg bus shelters over the last 15 months.

The estimated damage to bus shelters was $699,000.

Nearly $6,256 came from damage due to snowplows or other claims from Manitoba Public Insurance, and the rest was from vandalism.

There has been an unusually high rate of bus shelter vandalism in Winnipeg this year, said Megan Benedictson, a communications officer with Winnipeg Transit. She said the city does not connect the vandalism with the issue of housing insecurity.

“We do not know who is responsible for vandalism to bus shelters, and bus shelters are not designed for housing,” Benedictson said in an email.

The city said the reports of individuals sleeping in bus shelters more than doubled in the last three years.

City council shelved a motion to dismantle some bus shelters earlier this year and a new motion asked the city to explore options for low-barrier transitional housing spaces.

A woman was found dead in a bus shelter earlier this month.

Winnipeg bus shelter on fire

Winnipeg firefighters putting out a fire at a Winnipeg bus shelter

Sherri Rollins, councillor for the Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry ward, said there is clearly a need for a supervised drug consumption site, housing and health supports.\

A transit shelter should never replace a home and health services, Rollins said. The costs of providing those supports are clearly worth it, she said, adding there needs to be financial backing from the provincial government.

“We are going to pay for it either way,” Rollins said in an interview.

The city said costs for damage so far in 2022 are estimated at $425,325. It’s typically $150,000. There are about 885 bus shelters that have needed repair this year.

The number of people sleeping in bus shelters increased significantly with the pandemic. The city said there were 2,188 reports of people in bus shelters in 2019. That jumped to 3,852 in 2020 and 4,761 in 2021.

The number has caused significant concern among the community and city officials, as well as Indigenous leaders.

Then-acting chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Cornell McLean voiced concern in June in an email to former mayor Brian Bowman.

“As you are aware, First Nations citizens in Winnipeg experience homelessness at a disproportionately higher rate compared to non-First Nations,” the chief wrote.

Winnipeg’s Chief Administrative Officer Michael Jack said in a January 2021 email to the former mayor and city councillors that the city is trying to find short- and long-term solutions, including efforts to bring the provincial and federal governments to the table to help.

“Whether the location is a transit shelter or a riverbank, the dynamics surrounding why some of our residents end up there are similar, and similarly complex.

Winnipeg bus

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