Restrictions placed on tenants on Ezra and Bricker prior to St. Paddy’s

Last year's Ezra St. Paddy's Day festivities brought out more than 7,000 people (Photo by Shelby Blackley)

Last year’s Ezra St. Paddy’s Day festivities brought out more than 7,000 people (Photo by Shelby Blackley)

Wilfrid Laurier University has been involved with the enforcement of regulations for students living in Ezra Avenue and Bricker Avenue apartments for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on Monday.

These restrictions consist of limiting tenants to two guests each, recording guests entering and exiting the apartment buildings and requiring all guests to wear wristbands.

The university sent these guidelines to tenants through Campus Living Centres, a property management company responsible for managing the apartment buildings, and was responsible in sending letters to tenants.

Kevin Crowley, acting assistant vice president of communications, public affairs and marketing at WLU, explained that the university’s number one priority is the safety and security of their tenants and guests.

“We’re dealing with an extremely large event here. Last year, there were over 8,000 people on Ezra Avenue alone. Many of those people were in and out of those apartment buildings throughout the day. We have an obligation as a landlord of those buildings to abide by fire codes, a range of city bylaws and a number of other things — all in the safety of tenants and guests,” said Crowley.

In addition, Crowley said that these precautions are necessary due to incidents that took place during last year’s festivities, in which an individual pulled a fire alarm in one of the buildings and people from the upper floor could not evacuate in a timely manner. Furthermore, the density of the street made it difficult for safety vehicles to get in and out of the area.

“We have a legal obligation, there’s a certain number of people allowed in those buildings in one time … That’s the only way we can track how many people are in a building … and we hope that students will understand that it’s about their safety,” said Crowley.

He also explained that it has to do with ensuring that property is not vandalized or stolen as not everyone participating is a Laurier student.

In terms of the legality of these regulations, Lee Quaile, sales representative at Waterloo Region Living, explained that WLU is within their rights to limit the volume of guests coming through the buildings.

The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act indicates that the landlord must not interfere with the “reasonable enjoyment” of the properties by the tenants. Also, the enjoyment must be of usual purpose by a tenant or the members of the household.

“The operative word here is ‘reasonable’. I doubt that any law enforcement agency would call granting upwards of 7,000 guests of an unregulated street party open access to a property ‘reasonable enjoyment.’  Another key phrase above is ‘usual purposes.’ That many guests [unregulated by the property owners] would not qualify as a ‘usual purpose’ of use for the property,” explained Quaile in an email to The Cord.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) will also be taking precautions on Monday. According to Alana Holtom, corporate communications with WRPS, St. Patrick’s Day festivities are considered a big project. Resources will be assigned accordingly and are based on logistics.

 “We started the planning of this one the day after the last one. We have an operational plan that we work on throughout the year with our various branches … We will have officers on foot, they will be in the uptown/university area, and also in vehicles and on bicycles,” said Holtom.

Holtom continued that police officers will be looking for any disruptive behaviour, in which an individual is potentially causing harm to themselves or others. They will also be working on the enforcement of laws with the City of Waterloo bylaw team.

“Our priority on Monday is just making sure everyone celebrates safely, in accordance with the law and that everything goes smoothly in the university area,” said Holtom. 

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