Expect huge police presence, Metro station shutdown for COP15 in Montreal

COP15 will take place inside Montreal's Palais des Congrès, between Dec. 7 and Dec. 19. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)
COP15 will take place inside Montreal's Palais des Congrès, between Dec. 7 and Dec. 19. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada - image credit)

The police presence for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity taking place at Montreal's Palais des Congrès next month will be the largest the city has seen in two decades, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

COP15 is a United Nations event that will bring together heads of state, ministers and other dignitaries from around the world between Dec. 7 and Dec. 19. About 15,000 visitors are expected during the event.

Given the scope of the event, security measures will be significant.

The RCMP will team up with the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) and the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). Local police from Quebec City, Gatineau, Laval and Longueuil are also expected to help. The interior of the convention centre will be a "blue zone." That means the UN will be in charge of security there.

In total, there will be about 500 police officers assigned to keep an eye on the venue, sources tell Radio-Canada.

CBC
CBC

As a result of the event and large-scale security measures being implemented, the Place-d'Armes Metro station will be closed for nearly three weeks, between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20.

The city of Montreal says there won't be any street closures during the event, but there will be some disruptions as early as next week, when teams start installing a security fence around the Palais.

SPVM officers will monitor several access points to the venue, and only people with proper credentials will be allowed in.

The work to install the security fence will be carried out between Nov. 7 and Nov. 27.

During those weeks, drivers should try to avoid roads surrounding the Palais des Congrès — like St-Urbain and St-Antoine streets and Viger Avenue — as they will be subject to partial or complete closures.

"Those road closures will be short-term," said Philippe Sabourin, a spokesperson for the city. "The moment where we install those fences, we will keep an access for every motorist on every street."

Agence France-Presse/ STR
Agence France-Presse/ STR

Bike lanes and sidewalks will also be accessible, Sabourin said.

COP15 was originally scheduled to take place in China in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was broken down into two parts, with the first held virtually last fall. The second part was moved to Montreal.

China is still the event's host country, despite the location change.