On Saturday, the Guelph Gryphons football team will face-off against the Queen’s Gaels at Alumni Stadium, but the real action might not be on the football field, but out in the city itself. With Homecoming comes parties, and that means there’s a danger of parties getting out of control, which is something neither the Guelph Police Service or the University of Guelph admin want to happen on what’s sure to be a very busy weekend.
In a media release on Thursday, Guelph Police said that they will be deploying additional resources (read: more officers) on Saturday, but they didn’t go into details about how those resources would be allocated. “We would like to encourage everyone in the City of Guelph to act as responsible citizens and to be respectful of the community. An increased police presence will be deployed to ensure those celebrating are able to do so safely,” the release read.
According to the City of Guelph’s Nuisance Party Bylaw, a party is a nuisance when there’s “unreasonable noise, loud music, shouting, littering, damage or destruction or property, public drunkenness or disorderly conduct or several other factors.” It’s illegal to host or attend a nuisance party under the bylaw, and its illegal under the provincial Liquor Licence and Control Act to be intoxicated in a public place or common area.
If you need to report a nuisance party, noise complaint, open alcohol or any ongoing issue that requires police assistance, call Guelph Police at 519-824-1212, ext. 0.
At the University of Guelph, campus leaders are asking students to show pride by not being a public nuisance during Homecoming either on-campus, or off of it. “This weekend, please remember that your actions affect those around you. Be respectful of your neighbours and be aware that large parties can create unsafe environments. Look out for yourself and each other,” said interim vice-provost (student affairs) Irene Thompson in a statement.
“Any university cities across Ontario experience large, unsanctioned gatherings that are disruptive to the people who live nearby. The University of Guelph does not condone these gatherings and will not tolerate unsafe or disrespectful behaviour. As you celebrate Homecoming, be safe and be mindful of your neighbours.”
Thompson might be understandably concerned about unsanctioned parties getting out of control, especially after two years of pandemic restrictions that might have mitigated the size of such gatherings last fall. Up the road in Waterloo, there was an unsanctioned party that caused thousands in damage on Ezra Avenue over the Labour Day weekend just a few days after students moved in.
There’s also an additional concern of liability, and the fact that the off-campus community might be at their wits’ end with on-campus frivolity spilling out into their proverbial backyards.
Last fall, the Guelph Police Services Board passed a motion to request reimbursement for Homecoming police expenses of $65,000 for 2021, and to enter into a funding arrangement with the U of G to cover future costs for the future Homecoming and Safe Semester programs. “I believe this would be the first time a motion like this would ever come up, but in my view enough is enough. We have to do this, and I hope that I have the board’s support,” Mayor Cam Guthrie said last October.
Guelph Police spent an additional $36,000 in funding for last year’s Homecoming due to the 30 additional officers deployed, an additional police communicator and other civilian staff, and the reallocation of “regularly scheduled” resources that were mostly tied to an unsanctioned gathering on Chancellors Way.