New signs of illicit life at abandoned housing complex slated for demolition – Winnipeg Free Press

There are signs people continue to squat or use illicit drugs in an abandoned, publicly owned housing complex in downtown Winnipeg weeks after the Manitoba government touted plans to redevelop the site.

People who live near the former Centre Village block said a metal security fence is failing to stop people from trespassing, stoking concerns about the potential for harm, crime or a fire.

“That’ll never change,” resident Marvin Hurd said about people breaching the perimeter. “The fence they’ve got up, people can get in anywhere.”

MIKE DEAL / FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg Police Service officers investigate at the housing complex at 575 Balmoral Street, where a deceased person was found in April.

Squatting and drug use have been problems at the 25-unit complex, located at 575 Balmoral St., since it was abandoned in 2019. It is located a block from an elementary school.

Last month, the province said Manitoba Housing would donate the site to the non-profit Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corp., which will receive more than $2 million in government money to demolish the complex and build new social housing units.

Originally scheduled for April 26, the announcement was postponed because a man’s body was found at the complex that morning. Police said the death was not a criminal matter.