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Ottawa police facilitate encampment outside downtown core for convoy protesters

"It's the lesser of many evils," Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said in response to the encampment located on Bronson Avenue.
2022-01-31 truck convoy 5
Truck convoy protest on Parliament Hill on Monday, January 31, 2022. (Photo/Nigel Newlove)

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has facilitated a new encampment located outside of the city's downtown core, for those continuing to take part in the ongoing trucker convoy demonstration.

The new encampment has been set up at 1500 Bronson Ave, which is federally-owned property. Ottawa police asked the federal government for permission, in order to allow trucks to park on the property.

According to City Manager Steve Kanellakos, the new site is necessary, and trucks at the encampment are overflow from the site at RCGT Park.
 
"The people who have been operating those vehicles, if they're not  managed in terms of trying to put them in a place where we can manage the situation, they're going to park wherever they want," Kanellakos explained.

He added since many of the demonstrators are determined to remain in Ottawa, the city is trying to mitigate the impacts of the protest.

In response to the encampment on Bronson Avenue, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson feels there are no good options on where to put the trucks.

"We're overcrowded and at-capacity in the downtown core, and the police made the decision that we have to get them parked in parking lots, as opposed to blocking streets," Watson stated. "It's the lesser of many evils."

However, River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington, who represents the area the encampment falls under, said the decision to facilitate a new site was made without his consultation.

"I already have a local principal emailing me this morning with a school in the vicinity, who is very concerned,"  Brockington said. "Who's making the decision to allow new encampments to be built, and why would that be done in absence of any discussion with the local councillor."

Bay Ward Councillor Theresa Kavanagh is also concerned over 1500 Bronson Avenue being used as an encampment for the convoy demonstrators.

"I feel like we're aiding and abetting, and we have to come up with a way to stop this," she said.

Kavanagh added she is infuriated that the federal government is allowing the use of the land, while the City of Ottawa is managing it.

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