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May. 18, 2022 | Wednesday
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Old Town needs cameras to monitor horse protesters, Disero says
At War for Animals Niagara supporters drove up and down Queen Street Saturday. (Brittany Carter/Niagara Now)

Lord Mayor Betty Disero wants the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake to install surveillance cameras at the corner of Queen and King streets.

If approved by council, the cameras would help police keep an eye on local horse carriage protests, Disero told The Lake Report in an interview. The protests have been ongoing for a year and a half.

The protesters, a group of “anti-speciesists” who go by the name At War For Animals Niagara, want to end the use of horse-drawn carriages in town.

In response, carriage supporters from the area have formed a group called Locals For Carriages, which has been supporting NOTL company Sentineal Carriages and is trying to persuade town council to take action.

The protesters usually stand on the sidewalk in front near the Prince of Wales Hotel, a few metres from where the carriages congregate. They also have driven through town in vehicles with signs on them promoting their message and used a projector to display both still pictures and video messages.

The cameras would be monitored by Niagara Regional Police and come at a cost of $10,000, Disero said.

“We’ve been meeting with the Sentineals and the police to try to come up with some solutions that might make it easier for the Sentineals to operate, and continue to operate in our town, which they are most welcome to do, and getting the police to realize that this cannot continue the way it is.”

“We talked with the police and I believe (town) staff are writing a report to council, an information report, that we’re going to be putting cameras at the corner. It will all be after-the-fact kind of stuff, but it will help them in a number of ways to determine what is going on.”

“There was also an incident (unrelated) that happened at one of the stores along King Street and it would have been helpful for the police if they would have had cameras here as well. So it’s not just for the protesters and the horse and carriage. It’s just because it’s so populated here, and so busy, it’s a good thing to have.”

“That program includes them monitoring … there will be more eyes, not more bodies,” Disero said.

She said police are introducing the CCTV program across the region, at the expense of municipalities.