Homecoming Peak Attendance Estimate Set at 4,800

media release

Waterloo Region, Ontario – On September 28, 2019, the Waterloo Regional Police Service, along with our community partners, were deployed to core areas in Waterloo for Homecoming celebrations.

In particular, a priority on safety and enforcement focused on the area of Ezra Avenue in relation to an unsanctioned street gathering.

A peak attendance estimate has been set at 4,800, a significant decrease over last year’s peak attendance estimate of 14,000. This estimate is based on the attendance in the Ezra Avenue corridor during the day’s busiest time and is not a reflection of the total attendance for the day.

Preliminary results indicate that a total of 330 charges were laid by the Waterloo Regional Police Service in relation to Homecoming. These include charges for Highway Traffic Act (70), Liquor Licence Act (234), Criminal Code/CDSA (16) and By-Law (7) offences. Other charges were laid under the Trespass to Property Act (1), Cannabis Control Act (1) and Other Provincial Offences (1). In addition, 17 people were arrested.

“A number of piloted initiatives were undertaken this year by our Service and our community partners to better manage the crowd and reduce the number of people taking part in unsanctioned street gatherings,” said Bryan Larkin, Chief of Police. “While we believe progress is being made, there is still work to be done. We will continue meeting with our community partners to discuss further ways we can work together to put an end to these unsafe events.”

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Special Constable Service issued 73 Provincial Offence Notices throughout the event and made three arrests.

“The university’s sanctioned Homecoming events were successful and reflected the true spirit of the Laurier community,” said David McMurray, vice-president of Student Affairs. “We continue to urge people not to take part in unsanctioned street gatherings. We saw some positive change this past weekend but there is still work to be done. Laurier will continue to collaborate with our community partners to shift behavior and end unsanctioned street gatherings.”

Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services responded to 38 calls for service in the event perimeter. Twenty-seven patients were transported to hospital with five in serious or critical condition. An additional 10 patients received first aid and were released by St. John Ambulance.

“Although calls for service in the Ezra corridor trended down slightly this year, call volumes in the Homecoming perimeter continue to increase and cause a significant strain on our resources,” said Stephen Van Valkenburg, Chief of Paramedic Services. “We will continue to work collaboratively with our community partners and the Mayor’s Task Force on reducing the negative impacts of binge drinking, substance misuse, and unsanctioned gatherings.”

Grand River Hospital saw 24 patients arrive in their emergency department and St. Mary’s General Hospital had 12 patients arrive in relation to Homecoming.

City of Waterloo Municipal enforcement officers responded to 60 incidents, resulting in 34 charges for noise and public nuisance, and 415 traffic and parking violations. A total of eight vehicles were towed.

“It’s great to see people eager to return for Homecoming and reconnect with old friends,” said Waterloo Mayor David Jaworsky. “We’re encouraged that fewer people participated in the unsanctioned street gathering compared to previous years and thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding. There’s still a great deal of work to do on unsanctioned street gatherings and their impacts on our community and we will continue to work with our community partners to address this issue. As always, our first responders did a great job and we thank them for their efforts."

Waterloo Fire Rescue Services responded to 17 Homecoming-related calls. Two of these calls were for elevator rescues, one false alarm, 12 medical, and two dangerous conditions.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service would like to thank all community partners who worked together to ensure public safety during Homecoming 2019.

 

Media Inquiries

Cherri Greeno, Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Information

Executive Branch, Waterloo Regional Police Service

519-570-9777 (WRPS) ext. 8773

 

Kevin Crowley, Director, Communications and Public Affairs

Wilfrid Laurier University

519-884-0710 ext. 3070

 

Nic Smith, Community Liaison

Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services

519-575-4400 ext. 8711

 

Tony Iavarone, Director of Communications

City of Waterloo

519-747-8513

 

Richard Hepditch, Chief

Waterloo Fire Rescue

519-884-6030 ext. 23332

 

Anne Kelly, Manager, Communications

St. Mary’s General Hospital

519-749-6578 ext. 1501

 

Jennifer Condick, Communications Officer

Grand River Hospital

519-749-4300 ext. 2986

 

 

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