Pro IQRA News Updates.
A new pilot project in Charlottetown will see security patrols for the city’s five downtown heritage squares.
Rochford Square, King Square, Hillsborough Square and Connaught Square are small parks near each of the corners of the historic city centre, along with Queen Square – the green space around the legislature.
The condition of the parks has become a concern for some and a source of complaints to the area councillor.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve had a lot more outdoor activities,” Charlottetown Ward 1 Councilor Alanna Jankov said. “There’s a lot more going on in the plazas, and that was an idea I brought to Chief McConnell as an idea to make sure everyone feels safe in the plazas and everyone can enjoy the plazas.”
The city already has security at some of its larger parks. This 10-week pilot is an extension of that.
The security staff are not law enforcement, but do report directly to the Charlottetown Police, and will focus on upholding the rules of the parks.
“Remind people that, pick up your trash before you go, or put out your cigarette, put your dog on a leash,” Jankov said. “Just so we can all enjoy these wonderful spaces.”
When asked if the increased security in these parks was a response to the recent issues related to homeless encampments in the city, Jankov said it was not.
“These ambassadors, or security people, are not there to push people along, because where are they going? That’s why you’re in the park,” Jankov said. “So absolutely not, it’s just to ensure that everyone has a safe space to be.”
Reaction to the increased surveillance in the parks has been mixed.
“Oh yes, absolutely,” said Rinku Upathyaya, who regularly eats lunch in one of the plazas. “It has to be a safety thing. That is my main priority.”
“I go through a couple of these parks every day,” Lou Richard said while walking her dog. “I don’t see anything that would cause me concern.”
CTV news spoke to a few others who were concerned about the security staff, citing bad interactions with security guards in the past.
There will not always be a security person in any of the parks, instead there will be a regular foot patrol through each of them, 24 hours a day.