Calgary city councillor Courtney Walcott wants Beltline area residents to contact the city’s 311 service to report impacts related to ongoing protests.
Walcott, who represents Ward 8, posted to social media Friday afternoon. He said that everyone should be able to feel safe in their community.
While protests in Ottawa are being dismantled by police in the nation’s capital, Walcott’s concerned about the lingering impacts here at home. He said we’ve seen the protests and convoys manifest themselves differently in Ottawa and in Edmonton, compared with Calgary.
He said that without the bigger protests and the attention they receive, Calgarians are perhaps feeling powerless to take action.
“It’s only been recently that we’ve started really hearing about some of the more dramatic stories such as Sheldon Chumir having hired some security because of harassment for so long,” Walcott told LiveWire Calgary.
The convoys in Calgary haven’t been without enforcement. Earlier this month, Calgary police issued roughly 80 tickets to protesters. Calgary policing costs for the protests hit nearly $2 million in 2021, according to information provided in a Calgary Police Commission meeting.
“When you see what happens in Edmonton, you hear about an injunction. You hear about a venue for the municipality to kind of step in and take some control,” Walcott said.
“I started looking very closely and what I can do here. The one thing that’s required in all of that work is to ensure that we have evidence.”
Report the complaints, experiences, Walcott said.
Walcott asked residents in these areas being targeted by protesters to file their complaints with the city’s 311 service. Excessive noise, traffic impact, vandalism and harassment or intimidation are among the concerns.
He’s asking residents to note the date, time, location and specific details.
When asked about response expectations from the city, Walcott was upfront. He wasn’t sure what the city could do. He said what many Calgarians have been unprepared for was how long these protests would last. Walcott said even when he participated in Black Lives Matters rallies they knew they wouldn’t be sustained.
“I guess this is kind of our first exploration on what the municipal powers are to deal with this and it starts with documentation,” he said.
Even without any sort of enforcement, Walcott said it’s an opportunity to gather data on the severity and frequency of acts perpetrated during the protests.
“You can only do so much research through skimming social media, to know that a problem is real, but still not really understand how widespread it is,” Walcott said.
The protests are being dispersed in Ottawa. Still, Walcott has, in the back of his mind, a worry that emboldened protesters will return to Calgary and ramp up activity here.
“We’ll be proactive in this at least, making sure that we are starting the process of doing what we can to ensure that those things don’t duplicate to the same degree here,” he said.
Walcott, who sits on the Calgary Police Commission, expects this to be a topic of conversation at upcoming meetings.