The City of Waterloo is fed up with footing a $713,500 bill for a St. Patrick’s Day party.
The task force met on Apr. 13 to discuss the future of the exponentially growing party.
Dave Jaworksy, Mayor of Waterloo said the party gets out of hand.
“We all recognize and respect the constitutional freedom of peaceful assembly that we all enjoy and value as Canadians, but we have seen a disturbing trend with these unsanctioned events where some people are taking unnecessary risks and potentially compromising the safety of others,” he said at the meeting.
This year they’re drawing a line and have started a task force to alleviate the headache caused by the annual Ezra Avenue party.
The St. Patrick’s Day festivities host upwards of 22,000 students each year and the city estimates that the funds spent in the wake of the unsanctioned event could have a better use.
Last year the party cost more than $120,000 and the price has increased more than 500 per cent this year.
The breakdown provided by City of Waterloo estimates that Waterloo Regional Police Services cost $330,000; The City of Waterloo paid $62,500; Paramedic Services cost $120,000 and the two universities shared a combined total of $210,000.
A more comprehensive breakdown was not available.
The only explanation was the cost for police services were higher than last year, which might be because of an increase in population or the fact that St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday, and increased overtime pay.
The task force aims to reduce the crowd in the coming years and add preventative measures that would encourage people to celebrate in smaller, legally sanctioned places, like back yard barbeques.
The task force is comprised of groups from all across the city: the universities and their subsidiaries, emergency services, the city and its town committees.
Brian Larkin, Chief of Waterloo Police said the only way to accomplish their goals is to do it as a team.
“We’re encouraged that so many partners have agreed to work together on this issue, it is a recognition that success and change can only occur by working together,” he said.
Throughout the meeting the emphasis was placed on not taking away the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day from those who wish to celebrate, but keep its citizens safe and to maintain a good reputation for the city that makes all feel welcome.