Things were going pretty well. It wasn't perfect, but it seemed like Town and Gown had found a way to perfectly co-exist inside the City of Guelph thanks to the diligence of City Hall, the police, the university, and student groups. And then Homecoming happened...
Last fall, what should have been a fun day of football and Gryphon Pride during a beautiful late summer heatwave turned into the nightmare some people always dread when the students of the University of Guelph return in September. There was property damage, litter, and reports of drunken students behaving badly, or acting out in inappropriate, sometimes dangerous ways. Despite the preparations and expectations of the City's team, and the years of success with the Safe Semester program, it looked like it all went wrong with Homecoming.
So now we're looking to see what happens with St. Patrick's Day. The annual Irish commemoration of beloved saint that's now mostly about guzzling green-coloured beer will be the first big test for the City and the University after Homecoming, and whether any lessons have been learned about the way we handle large-scale, city-wide celebrations. But what were the lessons? Is there an appreciation among the people holding those big parties that they went too far? Can we give young people the space to celebrate while containing things and preventing it from becoming a police matter?
These are some of the questions put to an all-star panel on this week's podcast: Guelph Police Chief Jeff DeRuyter; Ward 5 City Councillor and Town and Gown Committee member Cathy Downer; Kathryn Hofer, Manager of Off Campus Living at the Student Life at the U of G; and, Kayla Weiler, the Vice-President External of the U of G's Central Student Association. If you wish to skip ahead to a specific speaker, the timing of each interview is below.
- Chief Jeff DeRuyter, 3:32-17:58
- Councillor Cathy Downer, 18:02-32:34
- Kathryn Hofer, 32:41-46:51
- Kayla Weiler, 46:54-1:02:04
So let's talk about having a fun St. Patrick's Day that eliminates the need for a brutal police crackdown on this week's Guelph Politicast!
How should you cope with St. Patrick's Day issues? A reminder sent out to residents of Ward 5 advises homeowners that if they hear loud parties, see alcohol on street, or nuisance parties, then they can call the police at 519-824-1212. For outdoor fires or fireworks, they can call the fire department at 519-763-8111. For all other concerns including parking infractions, idling, damaged trees, water restrictions, and litter you can call bylaw at 519-837-2529. Otherwise, have a happy and healthy St. Patrick's Day!
The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.
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Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.