Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie says he spoke with residents and neighbourhood groups ahead of St. Patrick’s Day and reports they are quite pleased with the steps taken to prevent the mischief that happened during last September’s Homecoming celebrations.
“An immense amount of more officers are going to be ready to go, they’re dedicated to that day,” Guthrie said. “We have already sent out notices to almost 40 known problem properties saying, ‘You’re on notice.'”
Police officers and officials from the university have also gone door-to-door in problem areas to speak with homeowners and tenants. Flyers have also been distributed around certain neighbourhoods outlining fines for various bylaw infractions.
On Monday, Guelph police launched their “firm but fair” campaign for St. Patrick’s Day.
“This is not an exceptional day, the laws apply. Our officers are looking at fair but firm enforcement,” said Police Chief Jeff DeRuyter. “The community has spoken and we have listened. We have been involved in various community meetings and it’s important as a community, we get this right.”
That sunny and mild autumn Saturday resulted in several complaints of vandalism, littering, property damage and a party on Chancellors Way that grew to 5,000 people.
Guthrie himself received many complaints, including an elderly woman who had a beer bottle thrown through her window.
BELOW: Mayor Cam Guthrie speaks with CJOY News reporter Matt Carty about St. Patrick’s Day
In a video posted to his Twitter account the next day, Guthrie said he was disappointed with the reports and called the behaviour of some party goers unacceptable.
Since then, Guthrie said he, along with city staff, have been working with Guelph police, the University of Guelph and various neighbourhood groups to come up with a new plan for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“We will be using every available bylaw that we have and the police are ready to lay charges immediately,” Guthrie warned.
“We are coming out ready to say this is not the type of behaviour that we expect for people to have and you’re going to start treating this city with the respect that is due and to the neighbours that is required.”
Guthrie said this new strategy shouldn’t deter people from having a good time as long as they enjoy the festivities in moderation.
“You should be fearful of the repercussions of stepping out of line because I am sick and tired of that carrot approach over many, many years and this stick approach is one that we need,” he explained.