Tracey Tong/metro ottawa
Hintonburg-area residents may not recognize him now, but he’s bound to become a familiar face before long.
Business owners and residents will undoubtedly run into Ottawa Police Constable Tim Senack after the Wellington Community Police Centre relocated from 1329 Wellington St. to the Hintonburg Community Centre yesterday.
The main reason for the move was because rent at the old location had increased substantially, said Staff-Sgt. Samir Bhatnagar. But while the move is a cost-saving measure by Ottawa Police, it also allows officers to work more directly in an area that has seen a spike in drug- and prostitution-related problems and complaints over the years.
“There are more prostitution-related issues that you don’t get further west,” said Bhatnagar. “There are more drug issues as well. There’s more of a rental population in that neighbourhood.”
With officers like Senack patrolling the neighbourhood on bicycle and by cruiser, police will have an increased presence in the area, said Bhatnagar.
“Most of the businesses will know who Tim is,” he said.
Now located at 1064 Wellington St., the police centre, along with a community policing centre on Somerset Avenue, covers the area between Island Park Drive to the Rideau Canal and from Parliament Hill to the Billings Bridge.
“This is a better location than we had before,” said Senack.
Hintonburg is still an extremely safe neighbourhood, despite its problems, Bhatnagar said.
“The area’s improved substantially over the last five years due to the good work of the police and the community,” said Bhatnagar.
Police closed over 70 problem addresses in the area in that time, he added.
“It’s closer to a very active community and an active neighbourhood,” Bhatnagar said of the move. “People will see us a lot more.”
And because the community centre itself sees a lot of traffic, Bhatnagar said police hope it will be easier to reach out to more adults, youth and volunteers as well.
There’s also free parking behind the building — a plus for visitors.