OTTAWA – Neighbours fed up with a pop-up site set up at Rapheal Park are taking matters into their own hands.
“Take Back Rapheal Park” tells 1310 NEWS they plan to hold a barbecue with roughly 50 guests on the green space Friday night, in effort to prevent Overdose Prevention Ottawa from setting up their tents.
Volunteer Pamela Simper tells the Carole Anne Meehan Show area residents have reached out to city officials along with by-law and police officers, but haven’t received any help.
“Nobody’s doing anything. They’re just allowing an asset of the city to be used illegally in a very dangerous manner. These are people that are shooting drugs into their bodies.”
So, this group has come up with their own solution.
“We want to get in the park before they arrive and basically say look, we’re taking back our park. So, find some place else. But we’re hopefully not going to let them set up,” Simper says, adding, enough is enough, “We’ve got drug addicts coming around all day long. They’re sitting on our doorsteps, they’re sitting at the old church, they’re hanging around in the park, they’re making a lot of noise.”
The group says they will be there every night until the tents dissappear.
Overdose Prevention Ottawa volunteer Marilou Gagnon says the residents are welcome to have their barbecue, but they won’t be giving up.
“We’re dedicated to our service. We can share the space. We’re going to talk to the neighbours like we’ve been talking to neighbours all along … We’ve been very professional this whole time and unfortunately we’ve been met with anger and hate.”
Gagnon posted this video to twitter Friday afternoon (DISCLAIMER: foul language)
— Marilou Gagnon RNPhD (@mlgagnon_XVII) September 8, 2017
She says whether the group is there or not, they will continue to operate.
“There’s no alternative in this city. If it’s not our site, it’s nothing. So we have nothing else to propose.”