Letter to Mayor & Chief of Police from Action Sandy Hill
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 4:32 PM
To: Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire) (City of Ottawa); Bordeleau, Charles J
Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; MFleury@ottawa.ca; ASH Group
Subject: Letter about the failures of the OPS and the City on Panda Game day
Dear Mayor Watson and Chief Bordeleau,
I am writing on behalf of Action Sandy Hill with respect to the City’s and OPS’s response to the illegal occupation of a block of Russell Avenue in our neighbourhood on Saturday, September 29 – the day of the annual Panda Game between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
We have heard clearly from residents, including students, who live on this block that they did not agree to, support, or otherwise participate in this event. Rather, they felt threatened by the significant number of hooligans from elsewhere who descended on and illegally occupied their block.
Both police and bylaw officers were completely ineffective in preventing and containing this “party”. They appeared to be little or no attempt to enforce applicable laws, bylaws and regulations. They failed to protect private property and residents’ security. Despite the experience with similar events over the last two years, the advance notice of the event this year, and assurances of “zero tolerance” in advance of this event, it is obvious to us, in hearing residents’ testimonies and viewing evidence of the extent of the illegal activity, that it was more a question of zero enforcement, and zero protection of residents who were forced to suffer the consequences.
We are calling on you to state publicly how you intend to rectify this situation and ensure that such illegal gatherings do not become normalized in our neighbourhood, or any Ottawa neighbourhood. This may help re-establish citizens’ confidence in Ottawa’s law and City bylaw enforcement. We are also asking you to be transparent and make public the full extent and cost to taxpayers in terms of City resources dedicated to attempting to manage this event, as well as to clean up after it.
President, Action Sandy Hill
cc Jacques Frémont, President, University of Ottawa
Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP, Ottawa-Vanier
Mathieu Fleury, Councillor, Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier
Board of Directors, Action Sandy Hill
From: Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire) <Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca>
Date: Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 3:34 PM
Subject: RE: Letter about the failures of the OPS and the City on Panda Game day
Cc: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Fleury, Mathieu (Personal) <MFleury@ottawa.ca>, ASH Group, Bordeleau, Charles J (Police) <BordeleauC@ottawapolice.ca>, Gravel, Mathieu <Mathieu.Gravel@ottawa.ca>
Dear Ms. Young,
Thank you for your e-mail. My office can confirm that OPS Chief Bordeleau is in the process of reviewing your correspondence. You can expect that he will respond in due course with an outline of actions taken in advance, during and following these events to ensure public safety and to mitigate impacts on the community.
City of Ottawa
From: Bordeleau, Charles J <BordeleauC@ottawapolice.ca>
Date: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 at 10:36 AM
Subject: Panda Game day
To: SusanonASH, Watson, Jim (Mayor/Maire) (City of Ottawa)
Cc: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>, MFleury@ottawa.ca <MFleury@ottawa.ca>, ASH Group, Bell, Steve <BellS@ottawapolice.ca>, Steinbachs, John <SteinbachsJ@ottawapolice.ca>
Good morning Susan,
Thank you for your email regarding the overall response to the disruptions caused by Panda activities this year in the Sandy Hill area.
We take your concerns very seriously.
In the past five years, the Panda game has seen a large resurgence in popularity and the street parties associated with the pre-game events have grown dramatically. This is the case for the Russell Rd. area of Sandy Hill. These are unsanctioned events often fueled by alcohol.
This year, in advance of the game, our officers, Bylaw and Ottawa Fire developed a large operational plan to deal with the crowds and the open public drinking we have come to see. You will have seen their presence on bikes, cars, on foot and on foot on key intersections in Sandy Hill the morning of the game.
We have a great deal of experience dealing with large crowds and understand the dynamics of crowd behaviour. The management of these types of episodes is very difficult. Our officers focused first on public safety and were successful in ensuring that no one was injured. When required to keep order our officers took various actions. They also worked minimize damage to property.
We had many experienced officers and commanders on scene and I am a grateful to all of them for their work. In situations like this it is not advisable to begin openly confronting, arresting and ticketing individuals. This type of behavior from police can provoke situations and escalate into violent altercations. Instead we chose to control the flow of traffic, keep roads clear and remain a constant calm presence to ensure order.
That being said, we are concerned with the growth of this event and will be taking actions to ensure responsible parties including educational institutions, event organizers, property owners and tenants are informed of their responsibilities. These actions will inform and assist our planning for next year.
We are continuing to work with Bylaw and Regulatory Services to ensure that, where large parties were held, address histories are recorded and that, where warranted, additional charges may be issued.
Charles Bordeleau O.O.M.
Chief of Police / Chef de Police