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If they don't stop the party, why put up the fence? Waterloo mayor explains Ezra Avenue fencing


For the second year in a row, the City of Waterloo chose to fence off Ezra Avenue for St. Patrick’s Day.

For the second year in a row, the party simply shifted a short walk over to Marshall Street.

This has prompted the simple question, why fence off one street if the party is simply going to move?

Today we have an answer.

According to Waterloo Mayor Dorothy McCabe, the goal of closing off Ezra Avenue wasn’t necessarily to stop the party, but to move it off Ezra.

"First of all, we would absolutely prefer it not happen,” McCabe said. “If it is happening, one of our priorities is to ensure the people who are attending are safe, or as safe as possible. So that’s really the reason for moving off Ezra, because it's a very contained area and difficult to get into if there is an emergency to respond to."

According to McCabe, the layout of Ezra – a short street with few access points – creates a dense crowd that provides extreme challenges for first responders.

“We want to ensure that public safety is maintained, so having it in an area where emergency services like paramedics in particular can get in and provide care as needed, or police can get in to respond to incidents, it’s easier in a location that is more spread out and has many access points,” McCabe said.

According to the city, the cost of the fencing is shared between the city, Wilfrid Laurier University and property owners. The city said the final cost has not yet been determined.

Prior to St. Patrick’s Day, neither the city nor Waterloo regional police would comment on the operational plan for March 17.

Police have released figures on the number of arrests and fines handed out, but have said they will not comment on the operational plan. Top Stories

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