Efforts to stop public urination during Bluesfest not working, residents say
Attendees feel 'they should get to pee wherever they want to,' Booth Street homeowner says
Sarah Taylor is peeved.
The Centretown resident lives on Booth Street, not far from the Bluesfest festival grounds, and has been dealing with concertgoers trespassing and urinating on her lawn.
"The noise actually doesn't bother me. The crowds don't bother me. For me it's the destruction of the property and the trespassing," Taylor told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Thursday.
Last year she asked dozens and dozens of people to leave her property, and this year hasn't been much different.
"[The problem is] the volume. It's the size of the crowd," she said. "And the expectation that they're coming to the festival, they should get to pee wherever they want to."
In a single night during the festival, she said she'll tell about 50 people to get off her lawn.
Trying to curb the problem
Bluesfest organizers told CBC News they put up 40 extra porta-potties outside the festival grounds this year to help deal with the problem.
Taylor has seen a few of them at the end of her street and said they're helping, in combination with a greater police presence and a supportive city councillor.
But the measures haven't entirely solved the problem, she said.
"I think [the extra porta-potties] definitely helped. The people who were peeing last year kind of out of desperation with nowhere else to go, those people are using the porta-potties," she said.
"But there are people though who just think they should be able to pee on my children's sand toys."
Social media shaming
Taylor and her neighbours have been taking photos of some of the urinators — some have defecated, too — and posting the pictures on Twitter.
I count 7 trespissers at the same time... how many can you see? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/peepocalypse?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#peepocalypse</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/urineatweet?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#urineatweet</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ICUP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ICUP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ottawabluesfest?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ottawabluesfest</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/OttawaPolice?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@OttawaPolice</a> <a href="https://t.co/RXF8fxd3f7">pic.twitter.com/RXF8fxd3f7</a>—@a_urine
"What we're trying to do is raise awareness," she said. "This is to show the extent of the problem."
Some people get upset about their photographs being taken, while some don't care, she added.
What Taylor said she wants is for the neighbourhood to be blocked off during Bluesfest, with event fencing put up along the side of Albert Street so festival attendees can't walk through the area when they're leaving.
"I don't think I should expect urinating and defecating in my space, in my home," Taylor said. "I don't think that's a regular expectation of living downtown. And this is a residential neighbourhood and a lot of people choose to live here because it's a beautiful neighbourhood the rest of the year."