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Party response, Safe Semester cost $65K, tab sent to university: Guelph Police Board

Click to play video: 'Kingston, Ont., steels itself for possibility of 2nd unofficial Queen’s homecoming weekend' Kingston, Ont., steels itself for possibility of 2nd unofficial Queen’s homecoming weekend
WATCH: Fines have been raised, names have been shared and arrests were made, but still the street parties continued. Now, Kingston is bracing to do it all over again next weekend – Oct 19, 2021

The Guelph Police Services Board is asking the University of Guelph to fork over $65,000 to pay for extra costs related to illegal homecoming parties and the Safe Semester program.

In a motion passed unanimously on Thursday, the board voted to request full reimbursement to cover the cost of bringing in 30 extra officers on Sept. 25 to respond to a massive gathering on Chancellors Way when upwards of 2,500 people gathered.

Read more: Fireworks shot, beer bottles thrown, 7 taken to hospital during Guelph homecoming party

During that party that lasted from approximately 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., police said officers laid nearly 50 charges and seven were sent to hospital.

Guelph police estimate the day cost them an extra $36,000.

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Insp. Scott Grover, who oversaw Guelph police’s during homecoming, said their response is being analyzed while also speaking with other police services about measures used to respond to large gatherings.

The board also called on the university to pay for the Safe Semester program that the police service runs from the start of September to October at a cost of about $29,500.

That program assigns additional officers to the downtown core and the south end, responding to illegal parties, public intoxication and open alcohol as students return to campus.

“I believe this is the first time a motion like this has ever come forward but in my view, enough is enough. We have to do this,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie who also sits on the police board and introduced the motion.

Read more: Safe Semester returns to downtown Guelph on Sept. 3

The board also voted to establish a funding arrangement between Guelph police and the University of Guelph similar to an agreement in Kingston.

In the past, Queen’s University has given the city money to help with extra costs of enforcement for events like homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day parties, which have occasionally devolved into massive and unruly street parties.

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Usually, that payment is in the $100,000 range, but Queen’s offered up $350,000 this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click to play video: 'Queen’s University opens the wallet to help Kingston cover unbudgeted cost of policing off campus parties.' Queen’s University opens the wallet to help Kingston cover unbudgeted cost of policing off campus parties.
Queen’s University opens the wallet to help Kingston cover unbudgeted cost of policing off campus parties – Oct 14, 2021

Guthrie’s motion aims for the funding arrangement to cover police costs related to homecoming, Safe Semester, and any other unsanctioned gatherings connected to the university.

Read more: Queen’s to pay City of Kingston $350,000 to cover costs for pandemic enforcement

The funding arrangement is to be in place before next year’s homecoming celebrations.

In a statement late Thursday afternoon, the university said it has a positive relationship with the police service and the City of Guelph.

“We are committed to working collaboratively with them, along with our U of G community, our neighbourhoods, community partners and others, to find effective solutions to the issues associated with unsanctioned street gatherings,” spokesperson Lori B

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— With files from Global News’ Alexandra Mazur

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