Task force hopes to put end to large unsanctioned parties in Waterloo

A task force presented a report at a Waterloo City Council Monday night, hoping to put an end to large unsanctioned street parties in the city.

The task force outlined the first steps they plan to take, with some to be in place for Wilfrid Laurier University’s homecoming in just over two weeks.

Ever year thousands of students flock to Ezra Avenue for the unsanctioned street party.

The party has grown in size over the past five years, growing from 5,000 people in 2015 to over 30,000 in 2019.

“People don’t wat this to turn into a tragedy that we then have to retroactively try and fix,” said City of Waterloo councillor Tenille Bonoguore.

A survey of students says they show up year after year on Ezra Avenue because it’s become a rite of passage.

“It’s almost like a tradition, people don’t understand why they go, the first thing they learn about Laurier is homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day is that people are going to be out drinking,” said Laurier student Gabriel.

The recommendations include more street closures, a ban on overnight parking, and increased by-law enforcement.

The task force is also looking at a long term five-year plan to end the street parties all together.

“We really need to go through a generation of students, students come here for four years, and we need a to go through a new generation of students who show what that outcome is,” said Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky.

Jaworsky says they are hoping to receive a second report in the new year, taking a look at how the project worked.

They say after that they will introduce more measures come St. Patrick’s Day and repeat the process until they find something that works.





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