What a week it has been for Ottawa folks. Councillor Gower provides an update on the latest information from the City of Ottawa Emergency Operations Centre and the Ottawa Police on events downtown. Also, free rapid antigen test kits are being provided from some of our local grocery stores and pharmacies The list of those participating locally is below. The Ottawa Safety Council is seeking crossing guards for permanent and back-up positions. If you are interested in applying, the Councillor has provided the link to do so below.
An update on the situation downtown
Here’s the latest information that I have from the City’s Emergency Operations Centre and Ottawa Police on the situation downtown:
- Ottawa remains under a municipal and provincial state of emergency. The Provincial declaration includes increased fines of $100,000 and jail time for people who continue to obstruct our roadways.
- Bylaw and Police Services combined have issued more than 2,600 tickets. Since January 28, they’ve issued 2,174 parking tickets in the red zone, including 442 on Friday. Due to the crowd size Saturday, as well as reports from partners of more aggressive behavior on the part of protesters (such as attempts to swarm vehicles), By-Law paused some of its enforcement work in the perimeter. Tickets include a wide variety of infractions including use of fireworks, seatbelt violations, driving on sidewalk, obstructed license plate, no insurance, and more.
- There have been 26 arrests in relation to criminal charges, including charges such as public mischief, resisting police, breach of probation, transportation of fuel, and more. There are 140 active criminal offence investigations in relation to the demonstration. Teams continue to collect financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions.
- Along with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, police have launched a joint truck violation initiative. Three vehicles have been placed out of service and ten charges have been issued including moving violations, document offenses, lapsed inspection, and daily log infractions.
- Officers were deployed to downtown school neighbourhoods on Friday in response to reports of demonstrators harassing children.
- City Council has increased noise, idling, use and care of roads and open-air fire by-law set fines to $1,000. We have directed staff to seek a court injunction to give police more powers to enforce municipal by-laws such as noise, idling, illegal parking, etc.
- City Council has asked both the provincial and federal governments fund supports for Ottawa businesses, employees and community social support agencies impacted by the protest.
- City Council is seeking permission from the Province to recover demonstration-related policing costs from any persons deemed responsible for such costs.
I share the concerns and frustration of many residents about the slow response by police. All the measures outlined above are “tightening the vice” so to speak around the participants in this blockade. But it’s clear to me that police still don’t have enough resources to quickly bring this to an end. This occupation is well-organized and well-financed, and it remains a volatile situation.
Last Monday, the Mayor asked the Premier and Prime Minister to provide 1,800 officers and civilian law enforcement personnel to provide more resources to the Ottawa Police. It’s still unclear how many of these resources have actually arrived.
I’ve reached out to elected officials from the provincial and federal government to express the urgency of this situation and ask for their help to end this occupation. I encourage residents to contact your MP and MPP as well.
Finally, I can’t emphasize enough the significant physical and emotional toll this is taking on residents across our City, especially to people who live downtown. Shops and services have had to close down, bus routes cannot access the core, and residents’ lives have been disrupted. Here’s one account from Councillor Catherine McKenney, who represents Centretown:
“Thousands of car & truck horns directly outside of people’s homes on Kent, Metcalfe, Bay, Bronson and surrounding streets are having the intended effect of terrorizing residents, both Centretown grocers had to close this afternoon because of unmasked & harassing mobs overwhelming their stores and intimidating their mostly young and low-wage staff (who will again forgo wages), seniors and women and other more vulnerable people continue to be afraid to leave their homes, a mom broke down sobbing today because she couldn’t get a birthday gift for her 5 year old because she is traumatized and can’t leave her apartment …. and hundreds of other similar heartbreaking accounts …. are occurring also in our city.”
Ontario Expanding Access to Free Rapid Tests
Several grocery and pharmacy locations in Stittsville are providing free rapid tests while supplies last, with a limit of one box of five tests per household per visit. Participating retailers will receive additional supply from the province each week and have the ability to determine how tests are distributed in order to best serve the community, including through appointment bookings, at checkout or through online orders. Here are the locations in Stittsville:
- Browns’ YIG Stittsville, 1251 Main St, Stittsville, K2S2E5
- Shopper’s Drug Mart Stittsville, 5709 Hazeldean Rd, Stittsville, K2S0P6
- Shopper’s Drug Mart Stittsville Main, 101A-1300 Stittsville Main St, Stittsville, K2S1A3
- Food Basics, 5703 Hazeldean Rd., Stittsville, K2S0P6
- Stittsville Whole Health Pharmacy, 1609 Stittsville Main St, Stittsville, K2S1B8
- Hazeldean Pharmacy, B-6150 Hazeldean Rd, Stittsville, K2S2R2
Become a crossing guard
Do you love being outside? Do you have spare time in the morning or afternoon? You might love being a Crossing Guard! The Ottawa Safety Council is looking for Permanent and Back-Up Guards. Shifts are during morning and afternoon school bell times. The average shift is 40-60 minutes and paid $17 per shift. It’s a great way to get outside and give back to the community! For more details and to apply please see Crossing-Guard.ca.
Get in touch!
My team and I are working every day to answer your questions and connect residents with the resources they need. If we can help in any way, please email me at email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 613-580-2476. NEW: Message us on WhatsApp at 613-277-0193. – Councillor Glen Gower