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170 charges and tickets, 19 arrests in Waterloo for St. Patrick's Day

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Waterloo regional police say they handed out 147 charges and arrested 19 people at the large unsanctioned street party in Waterloo on St. Patrick’s Day.

Updated numbers from police released on Monday said there were 328 calls for service between 8 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday.

More than 4,000 people came out for the first big party in Waterloo’s University District since 2019. There were no large parties in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Ezra Avenue, the site of former St. Patrick’s Day gatherings, was blocked off with fencing. So, partiers instead gathered on Marshall Street.

Police call the fences a “pro-active investment” that sent a strong message of discouraging unsanctioned events.

In an interview with CTV News, Chief Bryan Larkin called the police response to St. Patrick's Day "overall, a remarkable operational success.”

Here is a breakdown of the charges:

  • Liquor Licence and Control Act: 90
  • Highway Traffic Act: 29
  • Trespass to Property Act: 3
  • Criminal Code: 19
  • Bylaws: 2
  • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: 2
  • Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act: 1
  • Environmental Act: 1

Between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Sunday, police said they had 224 calls for service, resulting in 46 charges and three arrests.

The City of Waterloo issued a further 23 charges and tickets:

  • Nuisance noise (summons): 5
  • Nuisance gatherings (summons): 9
  • Noise bylaw: 6
  • Nuisance (bodily emissions): 2
  • Business licensing: 1 (summons)

The city said Wilfrid Laurier University special constables issued 69 provincial offence notices; 43 were given to non-students and 26 to Laurier students.

Regional paramedics responded to 37 calls from noon until 2 a.m on St. Patrick’s Day. Eighteen people were transported to hospital, seven considered serious.

“All of the calls that we did … were all alcohol, all too much to drink,” said Deputy Chief Rob Crossan with Paramedic Services.

He said unsanctioned gatherings put a strain on resources, as ambulances are unable to drive on roads that are taken over by pedestrians.

“That takes a team of four to six police officers, four paramedics to go in from our Crowd Response Team on foot to go in and retrieve this person and carry them out of the crowd to where we can get a vehicle in close.”

“Large gatherings pose both a health and safety risk to those in attendance and to the entire community,” Chief Bryan Larkin said in a news release. “We are disappointed that, despite encouraging individuals to celebrate responsibly in smaller gatherings or licenced establishments, many opted to gather on the street, forcing road closures. As we move forward, we will continue to work together with our community partners to find alternatives to this unlawful gathering.”

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