Sandy Hill residents demand action on 'destructive' street parties

Action Sandy Hill members say they're disappointed that rowdy parties took over their streets during a major football game last month — and they want candidates in the municipal election to explain what they're going to do about it.

'Disruptive and destructive parties' before football games a continuing concern

Residents in Sandy Hill want something done to control the large street parties that now come with the annual Panda Game, a football match between Ottawa's two major universities. (Radio-Canada)

Members of a community group in Ottawa's Sandy Hill neighbourhood say they're disappointed that rowdy parties took over their streets again last month — and they want candidates in the municipal election to explain what they're going to do about it.

Police promised to step up enforcement during the annual Panda Game — a football match between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University at Lansdowne Park — which usually leads to large celebrations.

"We feel frustrated and disappointed," said Susan Young, president of Action Sandy Hill.

"We worked for months with the University of Ottawa, the city and the police service to ensure that this year, no part of our neighbourhood would be taken over by these disruptive and destructive parties."

Young said they knew a massive party was planned for Russell Avenue on game day, but police didn't share their plans on how they would keep the event under control.

Police simply promised zero tolerance — an approach that didn't seem to be enforced, she said, with roads closed and many students drinking openly on the streets.

Young said police didn't share their plans on how they'll keep the parties in Sandy Hill under control last month. (Radio-Canada)

Calls for candidates to take action

Young said people in the neighbourhood want to know what police and the city are going to do before more parties happen around St. Patrick's Day or Canada Day.

They also want to hear from candidates in this month's municipal election, she said, about what could be done differently.

It's not normal, and it's not acceptable.- Susan Young, president of Action Sandy Hill

"It seems though that the city and the police view Sandy Hill as a student neighbourhood where property crimes, noise violations and alcohol abuse are not just tolerated — but should be expected," Young said.

"By letting these parties take place year after year, the city and the police are sending a message that this is normal. We're saying it's not normal, and it's not acceptable."

Mathieu Fleury, the incumbent councillor for Rideau-Vanier, acknowledged the city and the police did not do enough to keep the Panda Game parties controlled and said the current situation is unacceptable.

He said while police moved people off of the road, that forced them onto residents' properties without the property owners' consent.