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Today's letters: LeBreton Flats — we just want something done

Monday, Dec 6: You can write to us at letters@ottawacitizen.com

LeBreton Flats: So empty for so long ...

Just do something on LeBreton Flats

Re: NCC ready to hear big ideas for LeBreton, Dec. 1.

The story of LeBreton Flats is really the story of Ottawa itself: run-down in the beginning, then neglected and studied for years, then finally a promising new start and look. The only difference is that Ottawa itself has grown and for the most part moved on, whereas LeBreton is still seemingly stuck.

The original housing on the Flats probably shouldn’t have been demolished, but when it was levelled it could have been replaced with a new housing development. As it stands now, the Flats are destined to become a sort of pseudo Disney/amusement-like park area with a possible aquarium, showpiece library complex, maybe a hockey entertainment arena, etc. The land would also make a great land space for a collection of national museums, similar to Washington‘s Smithsonian museums. The ideas for the land are too many to mention, but most people just want a final closure on the longest running non-development story in the capital’s history.

It’s been said that Ottawa will be nice city once it’s finished, and the Flats are a large part of that reasoning.

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

We already lack routine law enforcement

Re: Council should say no to increasing the Ottawa police budget, Dec. 1.

Michael Spratt’s remarks seem to indicate the need for better police funding, if only to improve the level of training, oversight and safety of serving officers. “Defund police” advocates might do well to study the rising level of crime in major American cities since the call to defund went out.

We recently watched a car travel down our street at twice the posted limit, then run a stop at an intersection that has seen two major collisions in the past year. A neighbour walking his dog was threatened, another had someone enter their yard and steal a variety of goods. In both instances the response to 9-1-1 calls was, “Well, you live in Vanier.” Quite simply, a lack of routine enforcement.

There are valid arguments to be made for increasing the use of social services, with the budgets to fund them. But how many psychologists are prepared, and able, to deal with an unstable knife wielding individual at 2 a.m.?

David Prichard, Vanier

Spend the money on social services

Police are supposed to make us safer, yet OPS scandals — the death of Anthony Aust, excessive and militarized “no knock raids” into people’s homes, drawing weapons on a group of unarmed Black youth — show a different reality.

Even at its best, police work largely involves managing social issues politicians don’t want to deal with: homelessness, addiction, mental illness, poverty.

We wouldn’t need as many cops if we addressed the gaps in our social safety net. Ottawa could better spend its $332-million police budget (soon to get an $11-million top up) on: affordable housing and Housing First programs; accessible counselling services; a mental health response team separate from OPS (as Toronto is doing); and free and improved public transit.

We can create a truly safe, healthy and liveable city by reallocating police funds towards programs that serve people more effectively.

Nick Grover, Ottawa