WINNIPEG – A greasy situation has prompted a popular spot in Wolseley to shut its doors.
The Neighbourhood Bookstore & Cafe on Westminster was due for re-inspection soon, but the cafe does not have a grease trap.
So rather than get another fine, they simply shut down.
The city mandates that restaurants install the traps to ease the burden on Winnipeg’s wastewater system, unless the establishment has been granted an exemption.
Bill Fugler runs the cafe and has unsuccessfully applied for such an exemption three times. He’s been told by plumbers and wastewater workers that he doesn’t need a grease trap. And they weren’t the only ones.
“Even the guy who gave us the first fine, the first write-up ticket, Jeff Rozmus, said, It doesn’t really apply to you, and it doesn’t apply to Booster Juice, and it doesn’t apply to Starbucks, but you all gotta have it,'” Fugler explains. “But businesses which are similar to ours have been granted an exemption, and it says ‘no frying, no grilling’ in the reason line.”Fugler believes he should fall in line with that reasoning because they don’t have a stove, a fryer, or even a microwave. They make coffee and sandwiches, and that’s about it.”
“They asked if we made sandwiches. And we said yeah, we make ten sandwiches first thing in the morning, said Fugler. “We cut them in half, wrap them and serve them through the day. And they said, ‘That one knife that you use that has mayonnaise on it, that justifies a grease trap.”
Mr. Rozmus, a retired City Inspector, wrote in an e-mail to CJOB that the allegations against him made by Mr. Fugler are unfounded and that he retired from the City of Winnipeg with an impeccable reputation.
CJOB extended an invitation for Mr. Rozmus to come on the air and respond to the comments made by Mr. Fugler against Mr Rozmus. Mr. Rozmus indicated that the Grease Trap Issue issue is before the courts. Once these legal issues are settled in court he would be prepared to be interviewed.
Fugler has received thousands of dollars in fines over the years for not having a grease trap. He says not installing one isn’t about saving money, but a stand based on principle. Now he’s running out of options.
“If we actually get to try to file this, if they say yes, then the whole issue is over but if they say no, we get to go to city council and speak, which we would love to do. We have tremendous amounts of prove, we have a huge number of backers. But they won’t let us do that because they know that we’ll probably get it. It’s the only way this is probably going to happen.”
The city has declined to comment.