New Police Board Head Must Ask Tough Questions: THE VOTER

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The Voter takes on the issue of the police opening an office in the Rideau Centre and taking 1.5 years to do it:

“Opening up this building”? You’re not opening a “building”, for heaven’s sakes; you’re opening a small storefront office in an existing shopping centre.

If a retail business can take up premises in the Rideau Centre and be open in a matter of weeks, why would it take the police two years to do the same thing? The shopping centre offers you a blank canvas and, depending on your business, you outfit it to serve your needs and get it open for business as quickly as you can, That’s because during the fit-up stage, you’re racking up expenses for things like rent and staff with no revenue coming in to cover those costs. That, of course, is an incentive that the police don’t have. With no profit-generating requirements, they can take their sweet time to open their doors.

A business would have pre-organized plans for how the space would be used and what furniture and other accoutrements they would be setting up as well as floorplans and so on. How did the police determine how big a space to rent if they haven’t already figured out how they’re going to use it? There are people that help retail operations to configure their spaces to their advantage. Maybe the police need to avail themselves of a service like that. It certainly wouldn’t take two years to do.

A very important question for me is why they need to be in expensive commercial real estate if they aren’t going to be open to the public? If it’s just a drop-in for officers to hang their hats, access resources or meet up with each other, couldn’t they do that in much cheaper office space somewhere in the area? It might not have a Timmy’s but surely they could persuade someone to open one in whatever building they’re in if that’s a problem.

A second question which actually concerns me a lot more is what’s going to happen when they move into the new facility they’re planning to build on Prince of Wales Drive? If it’s going to take two years to get up and running in this small outpost in the Rideau Centre, how many decades will it take them to settle in completely to a building that is many times larger than that place?

And, by the way, if the police chief Eric Stubbs is saying now that it will be 12 to 18 months, it will be more like two to three years. And you can take that to the bank.

Remember also that he’s only talking about Phase 1 now. Phase 2 is yet to come and we don’t know yet how many phases there are. This could be an endless process. Since we’re paying for it, the chief should be required to make public the whole process with timelines and, dare I be so crass as to mention it, costs.

I know this is a totally ridiculous idea but maybe the new police board chairperson might possibly be someone who will ask some tough questions instead of allowing the police to do whatever strikes their fancy. That, of course, will never happen but I can dream …

The Voter is a respected community activist and long-time Bulldog commenter who prefers to keep her identity private.


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2 Responses

  1. Doug says:

    Another announcement from City Hall, in this case the Chief of Police, treating taxpayers as a bunch of village idiots. “The Voter” has posed many questions that require an answer from a transparency and accountability standpoint. The new chair of the police board is a logical person to be asking these questions but, as “The Voter ” points, we can only dream about having “The Voter’s” questions asked and less chance that they would be answered completely and accurately. The residents of Ottawa deserve better!

  2. Ken Gray says:

    Damn right, Doug.



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