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Police doing outreach in community ahead of Panda Game

The Panda Game is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1.
The 51st panda game. Photo/ uOttawa Twitter

The Panda Game is taking place on Saturday, Oct 1, and the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has stated it will have enhanced police presence in the Sandy Hill community after last year's game activities caused multiple incidents of criminal activity. 

Last year, multiple criminal charges were laid after disruptive post-Panda Game parties resulted in incidents of criminal activity, including the destruction of property and assault. 

Sébastien Lemay, the community police officer for the ByWard Market, Lowertown and Sandy Hill said the OPS has been doing more outreach with the community ahead of this weekend's highly anticipated matchup between the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton University Ravens.

"The goal of the outreach is to educate the community and encourage them to celebrate if they wish to over the weekend, but to do so in a safe and respectful manner," he said to CityNews Ottawa on Sept. 29. 

Residents in the Sandy Hill community and surrounding areas are "crossing their fingers" and "holding their breaths" that festivities and celebrations will be contained, Louise Lapointe, president of Action Sandy Hill told The Sam Laprade Show on Sept. 27. 

"Last year, there was just out of control, dangerous behaviour," she said. "Residents were really left to fend for themselves once the game was over."

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said last week that it is working with the Ottawa By-law and Regulatory Service and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and there will be a significant and sustained presence in the ByWard Market, Sandy Hill and Old Ottawa South areas for Panda Game festivities. 

Officers will focus on Criminal Code, Liquor Licence and Control Act offences, and other general conduct issues. 

Police and by-law officers will speak directly to residents and businesses in the Sandy Hill and ByWard Market area, assuring residents that they hear their concerns about the post-Panda Game activities that negatively affected them in 2021.

"People in the areas with the potential for the most impact will see increased and strict enforcement with limited discretion and no tolerance for law-breaking, including by-laws, provincial laws, and the Criminal Code of Canada," the release states. "Failure to adhere to municipal regulations, including the Noise By-law, can result in a fine of up to $1,000."

Police say that property owners can grant police Agent Status in advance to enable officers to enforce the Trespass to Property Act if party-goers spill onto their private property. 

"We remind party-goers that police and by-law officers will be enforcing the law, so we encourage everyone to celebrate responsibly," the release said. "We will not tolerate the types of activities that followed last year's Panda Game."





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