When I think of the North End, and it's population, I think back to its roots. The North End started as a blue collar neighbourhood. The less affluent immigrants into Winnipeg made the North End their home. They were hard working people, with respect for neighbour and community.
Some descendants of the first immigrants stayed, and raised their families in the area. The population increased from the outside as well. In the 1960's Selkirk Avenue was a very popular destination, with thriving businesses. Corner stores were everywhere, and so were some great restaurants. There were many different cultural flavours in the North End, offering great food at great prices. This could be said about the North End up until 10-15 years ago. Then things changed.
It is almost like a virus took hold in the area. Pieces of the North End began to look and feel unhealthy. Houses were no longer maintained. Yards began to look unkempt. Windows got broken, and streets felt unsafe. As time went on, the virus spread, further and further north. It is a virus of Gang Culture that is coating the North End with a residue that is hard to scrub off.
Residents of the area work hard to scrub the residue from their fences and property, in efforts to protect them from harm. But the residue grows back and must be constantly monitored.
The virus grows in strength as anti-bodies are developed in the form of laws protecting its actions and allowing it to thrive. The residue from this virus causes good people to flee, offering more space for the virus to take hold.
This gang culture that has taken hold in the North End is not a contributing culture of the community. It does not work along side the other cultures already established in the area, and does not offer complementary assets to the community. It is not part of a mosaic, rather a cultural overlay. It is a culture that takes what it wants at the expense of those around it, and damages anything in its path.
Until those in power actively work to dislodge this virus, it will continue to grow and spread, damaging everything it touches.
We need a government that will uphold the laws and by-laws in the North End that are already in place. We need a government that will change the laws that need to be changed in order to fight this virus. We need a goverment that will take actions to dislodge this virus. Do what needs to be done to iradicate this virus, this cultural overlay that is killing the North End. After all, isn't that your job?
At least that's the way I see it, from my house in the North End of Winnipeg.