Ottawa to draw on support from other cities to beef up forces for July 1

Mobile hospital will be set up in downtown during celebrations

Ottawa will contract out services from other cities to deal with the influx of hundreds of thousands of people expected to visit for Canada Day, said Anthony Di Monte, general manager for emergency and protective services.

Di Monte briefed the city’s community and protective services committee on June 15.

Using manpower from cities like Cornwall and Belleville will help shore up available forces in the rural parts of the city and allow Ottawa paramedics to be available in the downtown.

A total of 510 events have been planned for 2017, 426 are annual events and 84 events initiated through the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

While Ottawa has handled this before, there is going to be a heightened presence, Di Monte said.

Crowd estimates based on historical counts are 500,000 at the height and 350,000 at the low end.

There will be enhanced protection for city facilities, like city hall, which normally isn’t done, Di Monte said.

City hall won’t be closed though, Di Monte said, adding staff have to balance a need for security and allow the public to use the space because that’s who it’s meant for.

Already some changes are taking place, such as changes to the elevators from the parking garage. In the days leading up the Canada Day weekend you won’t be able to access city hall directly from the parking garage.

On the big day, there will be a MASH-style hospital unit in the downtown with doctors and nurses.

Happenings at Stittsville Legion

It will have the capacity to treat people who get hurt or ill during the celebrations. The idea came from the Ottawa Hospital, to reduce strain on emergency rooms, Di Monte said. There will be a staging or triage area and treatment space.

There will be security checkpoints set up on Wellington Avenue to free up space on Parliament Hill.

Planning for large-scale events, requires co-ordination between a large number of services including: the city’s emergency operations centre, Ottawa police, fire and paramedics, OPP, RCMP, OC Transpo, traffic management, among others.

It’s the hallmark of the special event advisory committee; something Di Monte said sparked the interest of visiting members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities recently.

The city’s information on possible threats comes from the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre — which includes the RCMP and CSIS.

“This isn’t the first time doing this, but the public will see a visible difference from what we normally do,” Di Monte said.

Committee chair Diane Deans wanted to know how likely it is the city will be reimbursed from the federal government.

“I get there’s a cost to be the nation’s capital, but I think at some point we should know what that is,” she said, adding she’d like to see a staff report on the expenses.

Di Monte said the costs associated with the royal visit will be borne by the feds, but historically, the city doesn’t get money for Canada Day celebration costs.

“It’s been part of our annual budget,” he said.


Article written by Jennifer McIntosh on the Ottawa Community News Website. Original link here.

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