Police hub in Rideau Centre gets support from new ByWard Market District Authority

rideau centre

A new police operations centre in the Rideau Centre has the potential to improve coordination between service providers responding to safety concerns in the area, according to the acting chair of the ByWard Market District Authority.

Bryan Chandler said the organization is “very excited” about the new police hub to be set up in the mall this coming winter. 

“The biggest complaint that we hear from businesses, residents and everybody is safety and security,” he said. “A couple years ago, the (Neighbourhood Response Team) was put in place, but one of the issues was with the actual continued presence of police in the Market.”

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

On Monday, the Ottawa Police Services Board unanimously approved a lease agreement for a storefront location inside the mall, located at the intersection of Rideau and William streets, across from the O-Train station. 

The 2,629-square-foot space is set to become a “neighbourhood operations centre” near the ByWard Market, as an initial step toward addressing calls for more security services in the area from residents and business owners. 

According to Chandler, police patrolling the ByWard Market were losing significant time because of commutes back and forth to the Elgin Street station, where they’d start and end shifts, as well as complete reports and paperwork. 

Having a designated space near the Market cuts down on that time and allows officers to spend their entire shift within the community, he said. 

Because many of the incidents reported in the Market aren’t criminal in nature, he also believes the centre will help improve police efforts to collaborate with other service providers in the area, including the Neighbourhood Response Team and the Community Engagement Team, which provides mental health support in the area to those who need it. 

“The police have started to understand that their presence, and also their coordination with some of the other services in the area, is extremely important,” said Chandler. “This gives them the space to better coordinate some of the service delivery requirements that we have in the Market, which is an incredibly complex little neighbourhood.”

However, some businesses in the area are skeptical about the new location. 

Carmen Montemurro, a receptionist for Silver Fox Barbershop on Murray Street, told OBJ earlier this week that she was disappointed the operations centre wasn’t in a more central location within the Market. 

“I feel they’re protecting the Rideau Centre more than all the businesses around the ByWard Market,” she said. “By having the police station out there, they’re just going to be pushing them our way.”

Chandler said while he understands those concerns, the Rideau Centre location is still a good spot for the police to be situated. 

“Our optimal solution would have been directly in the Market, but the William Street corridor is an extremely important corridor and main access point for the Market,” he said. “We felt strongly that the most important part was having the presence as close as possible. It was important for them to get everything they needed out of the space and they determined that was the Rideau Centre. So we’re excited to support them.”

The operations centre is just one of the efforts taking place to address safety concerns in the ByWard area. 

Chandler said the district authority continues to look at other possible initiatives, which include implementing an improved system for reporting and responding to complaints, and improving information exchange between police and private security in the area. 

The lease for the police neighbourhood operations centre begins in February 2024.

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.