Jon Willing - December 7th, 2011
Innes Coun. Rainer Bloess recently asked city management how much it cost city taxpayers for Occupy Ottawa. A response was sent to councillors today from deputy city manager Steve Kanellakos:
The total incremental cost to the City’s Emergency and Protective Services Department related to the Occupy Ottawa demonstration at Confederation Park was approximately $15,000. This amount includes supplemental and overtime services provided by City Paramedics, Firefighters and Corporate Security and Emergency Management personnel who were involved with this event, including site visits during the protest as well as support during the eviction on November 23, 2011.
Ottawa Public Health noted that costs associated with OPH’s work on site were considered part of regular duties with no extra costs attributed to the demonstration.
The Ottawa Police Service has separately reported that its costs related to the Occupy Ottawa event were $24,000.
Jon Willing - October 4th, 2011
One thing going for Stittsville Coun. Shad Qadri as he deals with this rash of fires in his community is his involvement with Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO).
Qadri is the chairman of the board of directors and he’s well-positioned to harness the power of the organization. He was at a community meeting about the fires last Friday and people asked for more cops to patrol the area. That, of course, is not necessarily the answer since it would take officers away from another area.
“My thought came back to this organization,” Qadri said at a CPO board meeting Monday night. “Obviously everyone is on edge and everyone had their nerves up.”
Qadri wants CPO involved in the next community meeting in Stittsville. It’s a chance, he said, to show CPO can be a citywide organization, and not one that just tackles issues in the urban core. It’s one thing Mayor Jim Watson has been critical about when it comes to CPO.
Police Chief Vern White, who also sits on the CPO board, pointed out it’s likely someone, or people, who live in Stittsville who are responsible for the fires, so the community must take an active role in keeping watch.
Trying to make an impact in a current issue, and one that’s getting plenty of headlines, would be a good move for CPO, which has at times struggled to convince politicians (and columnists) of its worth at City Hall.
Jon Willing - July 22nd, 2011
Kudos to city staff who have been working around the clock to care for the evacuees from the Kingfisher Lake First Nation.
Ottawa answered the bell when Emergency Management Ontario was looking for cities to assist with the evacuation in northern Ontario, where forest fires continue to rage. Nearly 300 people touched down in Ottawa this week and they are staying at Algonquin College residences.
City staff were quick to jump into action and they worked around the clock to make sure the evacuees were settled in. Paramedics and public health officials played a big role assessing the injured.
I hear now the city will be working with the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health on programs and activities for Ottawa’s guests.
Jon Willing - July 13th, 2011
You couldn’t help but be moved by today’s recipient of the city’s heroism award.
OC Transpo bus driver Larry Langevin (pictured right) was driving his No. 14 route through Carlington last April 22 when he saw a house on fire on Cavan St. He got out of his bus to alert residents in neighbouring homes before running into the burning house.
Langevin helped four people get out of the house and brought them to safety on the bus. He also assisted a woman who jumped from a second-storey window and received back and ankle injuries.
He courageously tried to enter the house again to save a fifth person, but the flames and smoke were too much.
Ole Hansen, 63, died in the blaze.
(The Sun’s Doug Hempstead filed this report on the day of the fire)
Langevin was very emotional after receiving his award from Mayor Jim Watson.
“It was very hard that day. I didn’t know it, but I knew the people I saved,” Langevin said.
He said he had connections with everyone in the house. He had breakfasts with the victim.
His recollection of the day brought some to tears in the packed audience at city council.
“I did what I could. I tried hard,” Langevin said. “I couldn’t do any more.”
Hats off to Mr. Langevin.
Jon Willing - March 16th, 2011
Stittsville Coun. Shad Qadri is a man with a plan when it comes to Crime Prevention Ottawa.
Qadri was recently appointed chair of CPO, replacing retired councillor Jacques Legendre. He is coming to the CPO board with a fresh perspective and a new approach to funding its programs.
For one, CPO should be looking at tapping the private sector for funding, Qadri told me today.
During the 2010 city budget deliberations CPO was on the chopping block until council found a way to slide the $510,000 program back on the books. The organization had a less painful experience during the 2011 budget process and its money was easily approved.
It’s clear, though, skepticism about CPO programming remains around the council table. Just look at the recent debate over graffiti murals, which are funded through city grants administered by CPO.
Qadri said CPO needs to find private partners to take the heat of taxpayers, but also to allow communities to take some ownership over their own crime prevention programs. It could involve engaging real estate agencies and the business improvement associations, he said.
Qadri is a firm believer in the need for CPO in the city. He says organizations like Ottawa police and Crime Stoppers react to crime, where CPO tries to prevent crime.
(Pictured: Qadri doing his own form of speed prevention by working a radar gun in Stittsville in 2007.)