Police laid 514 charges during St. Paddys bash in Waterloo – TheRecord.com

Police laid 514 charges during St. Paddy\s bash in Waterloo - TheRecord.com
St. Patricks Day on Ezra Ave: By the numbers
Waterloo Regional Police Service laid 514 charges during the annual unsanctioned St. Patrick’s gathering in Waterloo last Sunday.

Police were deployed to the area of Ezra Avenue where the peak attendance estimate was set at 33,000. 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, according to a media release sent out Wednesday afternoon.

"This year the density of the crowd was more significant than ever and causes us even greater concern," said Chief Bryan Larkin. "As we move forward, we will continue to meet with our community partners and members of the joint taskforce to find alternatives to this unlawful and extremely dangerous gathering."

Preliminary results indicate that Waterloo Regional Police responded to 205 calls for service and generated 809 occurrences related to the St. Patrick’s Day gathering. Officers laid 514 charges for Liquor Licence Act (376), Highway Traffic Act (110), By-Law (16), Criminal Code (6), Trespass to Property Act (2), Cannabis Act (2), Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (1) and other (1) offences. Eighteen individuals were arrested.

Police estimate 33000 people were at St. Patricks Day party on Ezra

“While this unsanctioned event started years ago with local University students gathering to celebrate the end of an academic year, it has grown into unlawful and unsafe gatherings that take place on St. Patrick’s Day and during homecoming,” said chief Bryan Larkin. “Each year we remain concerned for public safety, but this year the density of the crowd was more significant than ever and causes us even greater concern. As we move forward, we will continue to meet with our community partners and members of the joint task force to find alternatives to this unlawful and extremely dangerous gathering.”

Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services saw an increased demand for service throughout the event. A total of 80 calls were received, which resulted in 52 patients being transported by ambulance to local hospitals. A total of 11 additional paramedic crews were added and designated to the Ezra Avenue area.

“The volume of patients and transports put significant pressure on our resources, as well as our local hospitals,” said Stephen VanValkenburg, chief of paramedic services. “This event continues to be a significant public safety risk for the community and those involved in responding to the unsanctioned gathering.”

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• Grand River Hospital received a total of 59 visits to its emergency department in relation to St. Patrick’s Day event. Most of the patients admitted required treatment for the over consumption of alcohol, head injuries, lacerations, falls and fractures. St. Mary’s General Hospital received 19 patients from the Ezra Avenue area between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on that day.

The University of Waterloo said it issued nine alcohol-related tickets, and special constables from Wilfrid Laurier University issued 85 charges under the Trespass to Property Act, 31 charges under the Liquor Licence Act and 11 bylaw offences. 

• City of Waterloo By-Law Enforcement Services responded to a total of 171 calls for incidents related to noise and public nuisance, resulting in 25 charges being laid. A total of 700 parking/traffic fines were issued and 35 vehicles towed. A total of three residences were cleared due to large crowds. Lot maintenance orders were issued to 17 properties.

• Wilfrid Laurier University’s Special Constable Service issued 127 charges for Trespass to Property Act (85), Liquor Licence Act (31), and by-Law (11) offences.

"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," said police in a news release Wednesday.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service would like to thank all community partners who have worked together over the past year to ensure public safety during this unlawful event. This includes the City of Waterloo, The Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Waterloo Fire Rescue Service, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Wilfrid Laurier University Student’s Union, the University of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo Federation of Students.

Regional police estimate that 33,000 people were on the street at the partys peak, noting that this number does not account for the entire days traffic.

Waterloo mayor Dave Jaworsky spoke with one partygoer, who described the setting as being in a fast-moving stream – even if you saw people, you couldn't physically make it over to say hi to them. "The situation in itself, it's not safe. Just because everybody went to the beach and nobody drown that doesn't mean it's safe, it meant we got lucky." he told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

Thats up from about 22,000 at the peak of last years party. Another street over, police had to close Bricker Avenue for the first time.

Each year we remain concerned for public safety, but this year the density of the crowd was more significant than ever and causes us even greater concern, Police Chief Bryan Larkin was quoted as saying in a press release.

"The magnitude of the crowd is very concerning. It's moving this and morphing it into a very dangerous event," he added. "Our biggest concern is when you get a significant density in the crowd, you actually start to lose track or the ability to police the event,"

Charges laid were up only slightly year-over-year, with 514 charges in 2019 compared to 495 the year before.

Officers laid over 500 charges. A majority of those, 376, fell under the Liquor Licence Act. In addition, special constables at Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo issued 40 tickets for alcohol-related offences.

According to the release, paramedic services saw an increase in demand through the event, with a total of 80 calls and 52 patient transports carried out. Altogether, 11 additional paramedic crews were designated to the area.

The volume of patients and transports put significant pressure on our resources, as well as our local hospitals, said Chief of Paramedic Services Stephen Van Valkenburg in the release.

Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services also saw an increased demand for service. They received 80 calls, with 52 people being transported by ambulance to hospital.

By-law enforcement laid a total of 25 charges and gave out 700 parking and traffic fines. A total of 35 vehicles were towed in connection to the event.

Wilfrid Lauriers police service issued 127 charges, while the University of Waterloos issued nine alcohol-related tickets.