Representatives from Western University, the City of London and London Police Service attended a meeting today of nine Ontario university communities focused on finding solutions to the growing problem of unsanctioned street parties.
Hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, the meeting was also attended by representatives and student leaders from Queen’s, McMaster, Ottawa, Brock, Carleton, Waterloo and Guelph universities along with representatives from the cities of Waterloo, Kingston, Hamilton, and Guelph.
The day-long meeting focused on learning from the experiences of each university and city in an effort to find meaningful solutions to a problem that is spreading through municipalities across Ontario and beyond.
“Unsanctioned and illegal street partying is a complex issue we are seeing across the province, and even North America,” said Lynn Logan, Western’s Vice-President (Operations & Finance). “Every organization attending today wants to learn as much as we can from each other — whether that’s universities, cities, or emergency services – we’re all learning. It has been a valuable exercise and we’re grateful to Laurier for hosting us all today.”
For the last six years, Western, the City of London and emergency services have been trying to find a solution to end the Broughdale street party which has taken place on the last Saturday in September.
In an effort to temper the event, Western moved its Homecoming celebrations in 2016 from late September to later in October when students faced more rigorous academic pressures. Regardless, people continued to gather illegally on Broughdale.
London Police Services estimates that more than 20,000 revellers crowded Broughdale Avenue and adjacent streets on Sept. 29, 2018. Similarly, Queen’s University in Kingston saw a street party with approximately 25,000 in attendance, University of Ottawa saw 24,000 attend and Laurier saw 22,000 attend.
“This is not only a London issue, it happens in municipalities across North America,” said Orest Katolyk, Chief Municipal Law Enforcement Officer for the City of London. “We’ve had numerous community suggestions over the years. As a team we are looking at solutions that can be realistically operationalized with a focus on public safety.”
“The London Police appreciate the opportunity to be included in the dialogue with the various community partners in relation to the growing community concerns regarding unsanctioned street gatherings,” said Chris Newton, Superintendent, London Police Service.
“We are all committed to working together to solving the problem and part of that will be communicating the safety risks and long-term impacts of illegal behaviours,” said Logan. “This is a very complex issue that will require efforts from all stakeholders to achieve change and we welcome participation from all corners,” said Logan.
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