Oshawa City Hall and downtown security patrol contracts renewed

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Published February 27, 2023 at 4:46 pm

Oshawa has renewed its security contract for another year with Logixx Security and also signed on for another year of the controversial downtown security patrols, with the Region of Durham yet to agree to repeated requests to fund half of the costs of the latter program.

The City Hall contract is worth just a little north of $1.14 million per year and while the motion to extend the contract with Logixx was unanimous, Councillor Rosemary McConkey did express some concerns about the “level of fear” in having such a visible security presence in the building.

“I know we have to have a safe environment but the high level of security is a concern,” she said. “It’s a bit much.” Councillor Brian Nicholson, who chairs the Safety & Facilities Committee, responded by saying improving the “welcoming environment” at City Hall while maintaining the appropriate level of security at is an “ongoing process.”

Fellow Councillor John Gray reminded councillors about the story of a man who brought a “bullet” into the councillors’ office some years back as a show of intimidation. “I don’t like to see the extra security either but it’s a reflection of the society we live in,” he said.

The dedicated downtown patrol, comprised of three guards per shift from corporate security (Logixx) and one municipal officer per shift (including vehicle) from the City’s MLES team, was launched in November of 2021 to provide 24/7 coverage.

The program came about as a result of increased complaints from downtown businesses and residents regarding vandalism, illegal public drug use, loitering and aggressive behaviour, as well as to “guide individuals needing assistance.”

There have been complaints from some residents about alleged abuses to homeless people by security but Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter has told Council on numerous occasions the officers have the proper training and have saved lives though the use of overdose treatments such as Narcan many times.

Durham Region was asked from the get-go to help with the costs, as social assistance falls under regional responsibility, and the issue was sent by Durham Region Council to staff for a report last year. Staff has not yet delivered that report and the Region has not delivered any funds for the program.

The downtown patrols are valued at $893,000 per year.

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