SUN News – Ottawa Police don’t want to be invited to your party.
That’s the message police, along with Ottawa Bylaw, Action Sandy Hill, the University of Ottawa Housing Services and a group of U of O students sent to Sandy Hill residents Thursday afternoon.
The police, in partnership with the various community members and associations, went door-to-door in the neighbourhood, promoting safe behaviours and the importance of being a good neighbour.
“We’re all working collaboratively to come up with solutions to problems that have existed down here for quite some time,” Const. Ryan Pierce of the Ottawa Police Service told reporters.
The neighbourhood, an eclectic blend of students and families, has had problems in the past with excessive partying and noise as students exercise their new-found freedom or celebrate the end of a stressful semester.
Pierce explained the initiative is not to tell residents what they can and can’t do, rather to educate residents in hopes of preventing common problems in the neighbourhood, like noise complaints and excessive alcohol consumption.
“We’re under no illusion that we’re going to stop all the parties, we’re under no illusion that parties aren’t going to happen,” he said.
“We want people to be responsible and respectful when they do it, and that applies to alcohol as well because we want to make sure that people are safe.”
Pierce, along with a few dozen community members, knocked on doors throughout the neighbourhood in the one-day blitz, handing out pamphlets with information on community services, bylaws, and also to invite newcomers to a community-wide barbecue.
“The idea is also to let people know it’s a great place to live, it’s very vibrant, but also there’s some rules, so respect your neighbours. So we have information about what to do with your garbage, recycling, there’s an amendment to the noise bylaw, so that’s new, so we’re telling people there’s been a change,” said Claire MacDonald, a member of Action Sandy Hill and resident of the neighbourhood for 30 years.
The campaign was first held last year on Sept. 1, a busy move-in day in the area with many students making their first big move into their own place.
“The idea is to be preventative, to be proactive, and hopefully decrease the need for enforcement after that,” said Pierce.