Close road along Parliament permanently, Ottawa councillor pitches in wake of protest

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Published February 23, 2022 at 12:20 pm

OTTAWA — The three-week long protest that gripped the capital and prompted the invocation of the Emergencies Act has now sparked a call for potential permanent changes to the parliamentary precinct, including the closure of a major street to vehicle traffic.

Downtown Ottawa Coun. Catherine McKenney has floated the idea of working with federal officials and the community to close Wellington Street, which runs directly along Parliament Hill, to all vehicles except public transit, pedestrians and cyclists. 

The councillor also plans to ask the city to open discussions to transfer ownership of the street to the federal government, putting security for that area under national jurisdiction. 

In a statement, Public Services Minister Filomena Tassi says Wellington Street is under the care and control of the city, but the idea of closing it has been one of the possibilities long contemplated as part of reimagining the precinct.  

In the meantime, McKenney plans to ask to keep the street closed on a temporary basis. 

They city estimates the protest cost the municipality approximately $30 million, and will be looking to the federal and provincial governments to cover the expense. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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