G20 summit security promises to be disruptive
Published Wednesday, March 24, 2010 7:34PM EDT
Residents around the Metro Convention Centre site of the upcoming G20 Summit will be forced to cope with some of the strictest security measures the city has ever seen.
On June 26 and 27, the city will play host to the leaders of the world's 20 largest economies. A shorter, overlapping G8 Summit will take place at the Deerhurst Resort in the Muskokas.
“The Olympics that you saw recently in Vancouver was actually the largest security event ever to take place here in Canada. The G20/G8 surpasses that completely,” Const. Ed Boltuc, a Toronto Police Services officer and liaison with the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit, said Tuesday, according to the Toronto Star.
“There’s going to be a massive -- absolutely massive -- presence of police and security on the ground like you’ve never seen before.”
Among the details:
- there will be two fenced security perimeters, with Toronto police in charge of the outer zone
- the innermost security zone -- controlled by the RCMP -- will have a three-metre-high, unscaleable fence
- to get inside, you'll go through five levels of security screening
- manhole covers will be welded shut
- mail boxes and waste bins will be removed
The fencing will go up about two weeks before the summit. Road closures will be announced in the weeks leading up to the event.
Access to the outer zone -- the boundaries of which have not been finalized yet -- will require registration, a process likely to begin in early April. Failure to do so will result in people being delayed, he said.
"There will be some effort in making sure that anybody who's supposed to be at work is at work," said Doug Macy of the Building Owners and Managers Association, adding that people may have to show identification.
Union Station will remain in operation, as will the Air Canada Centre and the Rogers Centre. Former Toronto Blue Jays staff ace Roy Halladay, now with the Philadelphia Phillies, is to make his return that weekend.
Residents in the area suggested to CTV Toronto on Wednesday that the security restrictions will be an inconvenience, but manageable.
However, Coun. Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) said he has some real frustrations with Ottawa's approach, noting that 34,000 people live in the area.
For example, Blue Jays fans may have to access the Rogers Centre from Union Station by walking south to Lakeshore Boulevard, which doesn't even have sidewalks, Vaughan said.
The city had originally opposed a downtown location for the international meeting, with its first choice being Exhibition Place. But the federal government wanted to be close to the city's financial district.
Vaughan noted these events can be volatile, with violent protests.
"If there's damage done to property, if they're discussing the global economy, they better be prepared to fix the local economy afterwards," he said.
With a report from CTV Toronto's John Musselman