Police issue warning about young people using Strandherd Bridge to jump into the water
Published Tuesday, August 5, 2014 5:03PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, August 5, 2014 6:27PM EDT
The new Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge in the south end of Ottawa is drawing more than drivers and cyclists. There's evidence people have been jumping from the bridge using ropes tied to the railings. The office of Councillor Steve Desroche had reports about kids swinging from the bridge into the water and snapped photos of the ropes tied to it, which they then forwarded to the Ottawa Police.
“I'm told we had a report of youths allegedly swinging from bridge,” Desroches said in an email, “I am told by my office that I do not have photos of the youths hanging from bridge. We shared the report with OPS...and expect that OPS will monitor as they do with Manotick Bridge.”
The bridge, that straddles the Rideau River, opened just three short weeks ago connecting Barrhaven and Riverside South. It's a long way down to the water. 14-year-old Mick Raymond-Pearson says there's no way he would jump.
“That’s not fun,” he quips, as he cycles across the bridge.
“It’s kind of insane for sure,” adds Mark Thompson, who was walking over the bridge.
It's also illegal. One man, who didn't want to appear on camera, crosses the bridge every day and said for two weeks, he saw ropes tied on the railings and saw kids down below. He says it didn't take him long to figure out what they were doing. Police are encouraging people to call them if they see this kind of activity before something tragic happens.
"Don't think it's a good idea to be swinging off the bridge,” says Constable Nicole Gorham with the Ottawa Police, “You don't know the integrity of the ropes, you don't know what lays beneath the surface of the water, there's a huge potential for disaster.”
A quick search on YouTube reveals a bunch of "how-to" videos with people jumping from ridiculous heights. Just last month, police in Quebec issued a warning about people using the covered bridge in Wakefield to jump. It carries a $200 fine.
"You do silly things you're going to get hurt,” says Allan Crisford, as he crosses the bridge with his two young children, “You need to teach your kids to grow up responsible.”
...because if they're jumping, there is a chance they may not grow up at all.
"The last thing we want to do is go to a parents’ house notifying them their child has been killed or injured,” says Cst. Gorham, “It’s extremely dangerous."
Police say if you're caught jumping, you can be charged with trespassing or public mischief. That is a criminal offence.