Winnipeg Free Press
December 24th, 2011
Hundreds of boulders have suddenly appeared on a Portage Avenue business property -- confounding patrons of a 40-year-old Westwood neighbourhood eatery.
Superior Management, which owns all of the property on a Portage Avenue lot in Westwood except for D-Jay's Restaurant and the Bank of Montreal, placed hundreds of large stones on their property along the east side of D-Jay's.
The long mound of boulders was put on former parking spaces -- including handicapped spots -- previously used by D-Jay's, and was placed directly in front of the entrance. Local residents and D-Jay's customers are complaining the rocks obstruct the entrance and make it more difficult to get into the restaurant.
D-Jay's rented the parking spots now covered by stones for about 40 years, but Superior Management recently stopped leasing that part of the site to the restaurant.
D-Jay's has seating for 200, but after dropping from 60 parking spots to 20, had to tear down its patio to build new parking spots.
Superior Management declined to comment.
Robert Johnson, D-Jay's owner and manager, said he turned down an offer from Superior to buy his restaurant about five years ago.
"I think it's excessive," Johnson said. "They're trying to say keep out. But our customers will come despite the fences.
"Ever since our dealings together didn't come to any successful conclusion for either party, they haven't exactly been a warm, loving neighbour," Johnson said.
The owners of Terri's Unisex Hair Salon and Tanning, which uses the same parking lot, feel they are also being targeted.
"It's very sad and I'm disgusted," said Teresa Kayer, one of the owners. "I've had people stop coming into my salon because of the rocks," which she said have already caused accidents.
Kayer said Superior Management put the rocks in "because Superior wanted to buy D-Jay's and they won't sell."
She said the stones disrupt business for everyone. "Anybody who spends money in my shop spends money in D-Jays."
Coun. Grant Nordman (St. Charles) has been contacted by several concerned citizens about the situation, but said "at the end of the day it's a private matter."
Nordman said D-Jay's customers have no right to park on property that the restaurant doesn't own. "It's business 101. You get what you pay for," he said.
Nordman hasn't been approached by D-Jay's or Superior Management, and said if there's a dispute, they should resolve it privately, because it's not a city matter.
Jeff Halfdanson, a financial manager who's lived in Westwood for nearly 40 years and worked at the restaurant when he was a teenager, said, "You can't help but just look at it, shake your head and say, what are you thinking, what are you trying to accomplish?
"It's very hard to watch. It's very disturbing to the community," said Halfdanson. "To watch the faces of people that walk up to the restaurant, and their expressions, I've never seen anything like it."
He said that due to the stones and reduced parking, accessing the restaurant has become particularly hard for older customers.
"This is not acceptable behaviour," said Beverly Reeves, a concerned citizen who often goes to the restaurant for lunch with a group of retired teachers. "D-Jay's is an iconic restaurant in Winnipeg."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 24, 2011 A3
Some don't understand what the fuss is about, so they sprinkled a little gravel onto the lot...
The design chosen reminds me of rock gardens at a typical off road park. Designed to be driven on.