I know many residents are feeling anxious and have legitimate concerns about the planned demonstrations commemorating the 1-year anniversary of the convoy that occupied our city last winter. I want to reassure you that I take those concerns very seriously, and I spoke with Kim Ayotte, General Manager of Emergency & Protective Services at the city, and my colleague Councillor Stéphanie Plante (Rideau-Vanier) this morning to make sure our offices have all the necessary information to support our communities.
Some key points for this weekend:
- There will not be a vehicle exclusion zone, as the predicted numbers of demonstrators is not anticipated to be large, but police are prepared to shut down roads as needed on a targeted or rolling basis.
- The demonstrators have permits for a “dance party” on Parliament Hill, but the City has not issued any permits. If protesters attempt to move onto Wellington Street or other nearby streets, by-law and OPS are on standby.
- Wellington is still closed to vehicles. Protesters will not be able to drive to or park near Parliament Hill, they will have to park farther away by and walk in.
- City staff strongly affirmed there will be zero tolerance for hate crimes – please report any harassment immediately to police.
- The Service Ottawa phoneline – aka 311 – has been staffed up in order to support any incidents this weekend. Reporting issues to 311 will also inform the City’s ability to pivot and respond to developing issues, so please call or email [email protected] with any concerns.
My office will also be monitoring our inbox throughout the weekend – while 311 is the best and most responsive place to report actionable issues, we are here to listen or provide clarity as best we can: [email protected].
While we expect this weekend be managed smoothly, we know that this anniversary could be upsetting to many residents and business owners in Somerset Ward. If you are experiencing personal distress during the next few days, these are a few resources that can provide support.
- Mental Health Crisis Line: 613-722-6914 or 1-866-996-0991
- Free Counselling Services – residents of the greater Ottawa area can reach bilingual support through Counselling Connect. counsellingconnect.org
- Distress Centre Ottawa: 613-238-3311
- Youth Services 24/7 Crisis Line: 613-260-2360
- CHEO Mental Health Intake: 613-737-2496
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- First Nations/Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
- 211 – residents can be connected to social services, programs, and community supports in their area.
I am confident that the city’s experience with the smaller protests we have seen throughout the last year has improved coordination between stakeholders and there is every reason to be hopeful that this weekend will pass us by without significant disruptions. I encourage you to contact 311 or our office at [email protected] if you have any concerns and make use of these resources as needed.
Take care and please don’t hesitate to get in touch,