Ottawa Police Increase Presence for Panda Game Festivities

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Ottawa Police say there will be a “significant and sustained” police presence in Sandy Hill and Old Ottawa South today, keeping tabs on the Panda Game festivities.

And Bylaw Services warns that people will face increased fines of $1,000 for violating noise regulations during pre-game and post-game festivities.

The uOttawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton Ravens will face off in the 53rd Panda game at TD Place. Kick-off is at 12 p.m. and the game is complete.

Police have pledged a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to public disorder, after post-match festivities last year saw 2,000 people pack a Sandy Hill street, damage property and run over a vehicle. Eight people were charged with mischief during last year’s late-night incidents, and two people were charged with taking part in a riot.

Ottawa police say an investigation is underway after 2,000 people attended a street party in Sandy Hill after Saturday’s Panda Game. (Aaron Reid/CTV News Ottawa)

“We meet with students to hear their concerns and encourage them to call the police if necessary,” said Const. Seb Lemay said, noting that officers visited Sandy Hill residents and businesses ahead of the Panda Game.

Ottawa’s regulations state that fines for excessive noise will be $1,000, with a victim fine surcharge adding an additional $130.

The fine for urinating/defecating on a road or sidewalk during Panda Game weekend is $1,000.

Com. Mathieu Fleury says the City has worked with the University of Ottawa and community partners to remind students to celebrate safely, or risk losing the annual event.

“It’s definitely an important game, it has a local spirit…but at what cost and at what cost to the community, the city and the police,” Fleury told CTV News Ottawa on Thursday.

In a Twitter thread, Fleury said that while most students are responsible, “those who choose to cause destruction are risking the game for everyone.”

“Students should be aware that the cost of policing this football event is funded through tuition and ticket sales. This should serve as a reminder to party safely and respectfully, c It’s up to students to hold each other accountable and act like responsible adults.”

Ottawa police told CTV News Ottawa that a bill for Panda game surveillance will be sent to universities.

“As in many college towns, some of the public safety costs associated with the Panda game are passed back to the universities,” police said.

TD Place has announced rules and a fan code of conduct for the game Panda. The rules include:

  • One drink per purchase per person
  • No bags or umbrellas
  • No reentry at TD Place
  • Zero tolerance for intoxication or harmful behavior

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Tyler Fleming

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