Ottawa eyes $500Gs summit tab

LAURA CZEKAJ -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

World leaders sure know how to ring up a tab.

The city is preparing to fork out $500,000 for costs incurred during the security summit involving U.S. President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Montebello on Monday and Tuesday.

The hefty price tag will cover emergency service personnel, public works staff and a bevy of other services associated with the visit.

Anthony Di Monte, chief of the Ottawa paramedic service, said the final tally may exceed preliminary estimates, which have been sent to the federal government.

"As in past visits, we are making the assumption that we will be fully reimbursed," said Di Monte.

The city ran up a $4.2-million bill when Bush visited Ottawa in 2004, mostly for policing and security.

'JUST ANOTHER BUSINESS DAY'

At next week's summit, public works staff armed with barricades will help facilitate the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Downtown businesses are also ready.

"As far as we are concerned it's just another business day," said Peggy DuCharme, executive director of the Downtown Rideau BIA.

Sparks St. BIA executive director Sharon McKenna is advising her 150 members to stay open, but take precautions as outlined by police and the city, such as removing garbage cans and benches or chaining down anything that can be picked up and thrown.

Airspace restrictions come into effect Monday at the Ottawa airport. There will be a 10-nautical mile, no-fly zone surrounding Montebello, plus a restricted space of 20-30 nautical miles around Montebello that will only be accessible to aircraft on a flight plan.


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