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Ottawa police plan new storefront operations centre in Rideau Centre

A new Ottawa Police Service storefront police station will open in the Rideau Centre early next year, according to a new report.

The Ottawa Police Services Board will vote Monday on a recommendation to sign a lease with CF Rideau for a new Neighbourhood Operations Centre at 55 Rideau Street, Unit 107.

Staff say the storefront location in the Rideau Centre is located along Rideau Street at the intersection of William Street, and is directly adjacent to a principal access point to the Rideau Centre and across from the Rideau O-Train station.

“The storefront location is being proposed by City colleagues, and with the support of the Community Engagement Team and the OPS, to provide increased OPS visibility, enhanced operational deployment, and community engagement in the downtown core and, in particular, the Byward Market neighbourhood,” says the report for Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board meeting.

“The location is in the centre of high activity and high population density area and would allow the NRT to continue its functions with minimal downtime, while increasing their visibility throughout the day.”

Ottawa police launched a Neighbourhood Resource Team in the ByWard Market in 2020. The report says since the team’s launch three years ago, “calls for service in the neighbourhood have increased, and business owners and members of the community have requested support to revitalize the area post-pandemic.”

Staff say as an “initial step” to revitalization, a “Neighbourhood Operations Centre” in the ByWard Market is being proposed.

“The centre will provide the OPS, and partner agencies and services in the future, with a dedicated location in which to strategize, prioritize, and plan proactive and reactive activities to best meet the needs of the Community,” says the report.

“Establishing a more permanent location in the Byward Market will increase police visibility in the Market and will provide the OPS with access to a more reliable space in which to meet with community partners to collaborate more effectively on a whole-of-service delivery for the Byward Market area.”

The city of Ottawa’s Community Engagement Team, Ottawa Police Service and Chief Eric Stubbs looked at various locations in the ByWard Market area over the summer.

“55 Rideau Street, Unit 107, was identified as the most appropriate space.”

CF Rideau approached the city of Ottawa’s Corporate Real Estate Office to consider available space for the Neighbourhood Operations Centre, according to the report.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe campaigned on a promise to open a community resource centre in the ByWard Market. During the summer, police said they had been looking for a location for the new storefront police station.

The lease between the Ottawa Police Service and CF Rideau will last for five years, starting Feb. 15, 2024. The lease will cost $245,944.95 in the first year.

The Neighbourhood Operations Centre will not be publicly accessible at first, with staff saying public access will be considered in future years once additional agencies and service providers can be brought on board.

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