Police reported at the Action Sandy Hill board’s December meeting that in this year’s third quarter crimes were down in every category in comparison with last year. COVID 19 was given as the main reason.
A Neighbourhood Resource Team (4 teams of 8, 7 days/week coverage 9-9 + Thurs.-Sun. 9 p.m.-3a.m.) has been up and running for several months. Feedback from community groups suggests it is having a positive influence. As well as being more visible, the team is also proactively carrying out curfew checks, follow-ups etc. This proactive action is possible to some extent because there is less need for patrolling late night bar closings in the Market due to COVID restrictions. A Sandy Hill focus group set up to liaise with/provide feedback to the NRT initiative is small. ASH canvassed residents north of Laurier to Rideau but found not much interest expressed.
Capital project updates
• Mann/Range water/sewer renewal project: Landscaping in front of the Mann Avenue mall, and the Russell Avenue segment of the work will be delayed until spring 2021. Mann Avenue re-planting has three fewer trees which City will also have to find and replace.
• Egyptian Embassy construction: City and heritage folks are in discussion to ensure the partially retained building is protected over winter.
• Sewer Storage Tunnel was opened at the end of November so now overflow will not be diverted into the Ottawa River. There is still some landscaping to do along Cumberland Avenue.
• Rideau Street renewal project: work on the project between Sussex and Dalhousie is pretty much completed. OC Transpo buses which have been detoured since April will begin to use it again on Dec 20. It now has the widest sidewalks in Ottawa!
—notes from Kathy Moyer
Physical distancing centre for women
The City has announced the opening, this month, of a Physical Distancing Centre for women located on Friel Street just north of Rideau Street in an unoccupied uOttawa residence. Three programs serving single women experiencing homelessness will be temporarily consolidated on the site with an initial capacity of over 100 people. It will be operated by Cornerstone Housing for Women. The facility will provide additional capacity and space for physical distancing in the shelter system. Clients from Cornerstone, Shepherds of Good Hope and overflow services will be served. The site will provide rooms and amenities for single women, aged 18 years and older, who are shelter users and includes access to case management services to support people to transition to permanent housing.
The use of the Friel site for this purpose is a response to COVID-19, to reduce the pressures on the shelter system, including the risk to people experiencing homelessness of contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus.
The facility will be operated with 24- hour staff and security. The site is temporary and will be used until summer 2021.