Door-knocker campaign tries to decrease the craze and cluster of St. Patrick’s Day on Ezra

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Photo by Luke Sarazin

In what has become a routine beginning in the month of March, the City of Waterloo is once again preparing and organizing their services to deal with the growing concern surrounding St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 13, a collection of Waterloo community partners will be undertaking their annual St. Patrick’s Day door-knocking campaign. In addition, the city will be putting up posters and talking to residents of the city to encourage safe and responsible behaviour on and around the upcoming weekend.

The goal of the event is to educate those who may be participating or in the vicinity of the day’s activities on staying out of trouble with the law, as well as how to avoid exposing themselves to risk or danger.

“We’re going around the neighbourhoods around the university, to areas where we know there are high volumes of student housing, knocking on doors and giving them information and just encouraging them to stay safe,” said Shayne Turner, director of municipal enforcement services for the City of Waterloo.

“If they’re going to partake in the St. Patrick’s Day events over the weekend, we want them to stay safe and be respectful and make sure that they look [out] for their friends as well.”

In doing this, the city hopes to reduce the amount of pressure that will be put on regional law enforcement and reinforce an overall message of “respect” and “pride” for their community.

Included in this campaign will be members of the City of Waterloo’s Fire Rescue and by-law enforcement, Waterloo Regional Police Services, Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, members of Wilfrid Laurier University and their Students’ Union, as well as individuals from the University of Waterloo and their Federation of Students.

“[But] that also comes with the challenges of people getting injured when they slip and fall or they do harm by perhaps drinking too much.”

The City of Waterloo released a notice on Thursday, Mar. 7, providing some additional information regarding the weekend’s events. In the release, Leanne Holland Brown, dean of students at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus, offered some of her thoughts regarding the university’s stance on hazard-minimization and mitigation.

“We are pleased to continue working closely with the City of Waterloo and our emergency service partners on operational and communications plans to address growing safety concerns and to ensure a collective effort in responding to this situation,” Brown said.

Regarding St. Patrick’s Day itself, the city is preparing well in advance of the day to prepare for all the likely possibilities and hazards that come with such large crowds.

“We have an operations plan in place … it’s going to focus on what we know are the likely impacts of the large crowds on Ezra street,” Turner said.

“But we also have teams of officers that are going to be in and around the neighbourhoods, outside of the Ezra area, where we also know there are likely to be large gatherings and large parties.”

As far as the major issues that the city expects to face, municipal enforcement notes a series of similar themes emerging from years previous.

“I think the issues we’re going to face are likely the same as what we’ve faced in previous years: the large crowds, blocking sidewalks and blocking traffic, significant drinking, noisy parties, public urination,” Turner said.

“[But] that also comes with the challenges of people getting injured when they slip and fall or they do harm by perhaps drinking too much.”

As members of the Laurier community, it is our duty and responsibility to encourage and promote messages of respect for the community and the city this upcoming weekend.

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