Oakville unveils plan to increase policing of local parks

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Published October 15, 2021 at 2:55 pm

Oakville wants to beef up security in neighbourhood parks and plans to spend close to $1.8 million to police the areas.

Park security and bylaw enforcement is necessary, the Town believes, because of increased reports of drinking, smoking, noise, off-leash dogs, the use of fields without a permit and barbequing where prohibited.

A report that will be presented to Town council on Monday recommends adoption of the two-year “Park Enforcement Pilot Program” beginning in 2022 where officers will patrol parks in an effort to keep them as safe spaces for residents.

The report points out that historically, Halton Police have been called in when enforcement issues arise and they send out officers based on availability.

However, during the pandemic, park usage has spiked which has led to “significant levels of enforcement-related activity and complaints that staff believe will necessitate ongoing park enforcement,” according to the report.

The plan calls for spending $900,000 for staffing, equipment, vehicles and technology annually over the period of the pilot. The program will create a unit of seasonal and part-time workers to address the park enforcement.

Once on the job, the enforcement officers will visit various parks throughout Oakville conducting a minimum of 70 weekly spring and summer patrols and 10 weekly off-season park patrols.

Town staff believe the program may be necessary only for as long as the pandemic lasts and that enforcement concerns should return to pre-pandemic levels in a couple of years.

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