More than 100 students attend party in Waterloo, 3 people face bylaw charges

A large house party on Hickory Street West in Waterloo drew more than 100 students Monday night, according to Waterloo regional police.

Bylaw officers charged 3 people after breaking up a large house party in Waterloo

Waterloo regional police say a large house party on Labour Day drew more than 100 students and had to be broken up by police. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A large house party on Hickory Street W. in Waterloo drew more than 100 students Monday night and had to be broken up by Waterloo regional police, the service said in a news release. 

Police and bylaw officers were called to the house around 10 p.m., the release said. 

More than 100 students had to be dispersed and three people were charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, police say.

The three people charged were tenants of the property and have each been given a ticket that could result in a $880 fine, according to Shayne Turner, director of municipal enforcement services with the City of Waterloo. 

"Because they're the occupants of the property, they're responsible," Turner told CBC News. "If there [were] people on the property they didn't want to be there, if overcrowding became an issue, then they're also the ones that should be held accountable."

Turner said bylaw officers use their judgment when dealing with a bylaw violation. In this case, he said the well-known public health risks of spreading COVID-19 led officers to use a more strict approach.

"It would be very difficult for anybody to say they haven't heard in the news ... over the past few months about the public safety concerns," he said. 

Kingston strengthens penalties for partygoers

Under the province's Stage Three reopening guidelines, indoor gatherings are supposed to be capped at a maximum of 50 people. A maximum of 100 people can attend outdoor gatherings. 

The City of Kingston, home to Queen's University, recently strengthened enforcement measures in anticipation of fall parties. Partygoers attending an unsanctioned event with more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors can expect "immediate" enforcement, according to a joint statement from the city, health officials and police.

Financial penalties can now range from between $500 up to $100,000, and party goers who refuse to leave or identify themselves can face further penalties. 

Waterloo Coun. Sandra Hanmer, who sits on the town and gown committee, said the City of Waterloo is expecting students to use "good judgment" this year but that bylaw officers are ready to respond if necessary. 

"We know that many students are social and part of the university experience is being able to be with your friends," Hanmer told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition on Monday.

"However, we are in the middle of a pandemic and we expect students to remember that."

In Kitchener, fines for parties of more than 100 people outside or 50 people inside are also pegged at $880, a spokesperson for the city said Friday. However, the city said it still plans to use education rather than enforcement wherever possible.

Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford took aim at backyard parties for an uptick in COVID-19 cases. He urged people to avoid unsafe gatherings over the Labour Day weekend and not to share drinks, joints or anything else that could spread COVID-19.


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