Police report 514 charges, 18 arrests at St. Patricks Day bash on Ezra Avenue in Waterloo – TheRecord.com

Police report 514 charges, 18 arrests at St. Patrick\s Day bash on Ezra Avenue in Waterloo - TheRecord.com
St. Patricks Day on Ezra Ave: By the numbers
Waterloo Regional Police have estimated that 33,000 people were at the unsanctioned street party on Ezra Avenue on St. Patricks Day at its highpoint.

That number represents a 50 per cent increase over the 2018 event at which police estimated 22,000 people were attendance.

"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."

Extremely dangerous: Ezra Avenue St. Patricks Day street party biggest ever, say police

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, Waterloo police chief Bryan Larkin said in a statement.

"There's a place for people to enjoy St. Patrick's Day in their own community," Jaworsky said. "We really shouldn't have to look to the people, citizens, of Waterloo to pay for the large cost that could be better spent on other things, such as homelessness and affordable housing."

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.

Prior to this year's unsanctioned party, Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworksy told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo he hoped 2019 would be the last major St. Patrick's Day party on Ezra Avenue. A leap year in 2020 means the following three years will see March 17 fall mid-week.

Police say they made 18 arrests during Sundays event for offences ranging from assault and mischief to resisting arrest and alcohol-related issues.

Over the course of the day, it said paramedics received 80 calls for service and took 52 people to hospital. Grand River Hospital said 59 patients were assessed in its emergency room, while St. Mary's General Hospital saw 19 patients between 1 and 4:30 p.m. 

In addition, they handed out 514 tickets on Sunday, a slight increase over 2018 when there were 495 tickets issued.

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Amid the intoxicated masses, there are several people giving out water and picking up trash. pic.twitter.com/V7gvCLLehu

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. 

The agency put on 11 extra paramedic crews and they were necessary as they answered 80 calls and transported 52 people to hospital.

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

"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.

PICTURES: Thousands are partaking in St. Patricks Day parties on and near Ezra Avenue (just outside of @Laurier) in #Waterloo. pic.twitter.com/iUjFszqHCW

READ MORE: Expect as many as 30,000 Waterloo St. Patricks Day revellers on Sunday — police chief

In its news release, the Waterloo Regional Police Service encouraged members of the public to have their say about unsanctioned public events in a survey conducted by the public gatherings task force.

Grand River Hospital received 59 emergency room visits in relation to the Ezra Avenue party which it says were mostly for over consumption of alcohol, head injuries, lacerations, falls and fractures.

"But our biggest issue around the crowd is the density … when the density becomes that thick … you'll note that obviously created some challenges from a police perspective, but also from a paramedic perspective, getting set up … The feedback from our frontline was that the density made it very difficult to make their way through the crowd," Waterloo Regional Police Chief, Bryan Larkin told the media following Wednesday's police services board meeting.

St. Marys General Hospital emergency room saw an additional 19 visitors from the party between 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

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.

By-law officers from the city of Waterloo answered 171 calls related to noise and public nuisance and they handed out 25 tickets. They also cleared out three homes due to overcrowding and issued lot maintenance orders to 17 properties.

Wilfrid Laurier Universitys Special Constable Service issued a further 127 tickets while University of Waterloo Police Services issued nine more.

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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.

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.

Larkin says another area of concern being this is the first time they experienced projectiles being tossed, as well as fist fights that broke out within the crowd. 

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.

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.

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.

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

Waterloo Regional Police have released numbers from the annual unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day party on Ezra Avenue in Waterloo.

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.

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.

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