London

'No stopping zone' considered for notorious Western student party enclave

London city councillors vote Monday on whether to impose a 'no stopping zone' on streets surrounding Broughdale Avenue, an enclave of mostly student rental homes known for its wild and well-attended annual party known as FoCo.

This year's proposed ban on stopped vehicles is part of a wider effort by officials to keep a lid on things

Streets highlighted in red are proposed areas where vehicles will not be allowed to stop for any reason in the Broughdale neighbourhood for this year's FoCo celebrations. (City of London)

London city councillors vote Monday on whether to impose a 'no stopping zone' on streets surrounding Broughdale Avenue, an enclave of mostly student rental homes known for its yearly street party that tests the limits of local authorities' patience and resources. 

Fake Homecoming, or FoCo, is an annual unsanctioned student party that saw a sea of 20,000 purple-clad revelers inundate Broughdale last year in an all-day booze-soaked bender that, for some, ended with a trip to the emergency room.

In years past, first responders have complained that the drunken crowds, in combination with the hundreds of cars parked on nearby streets, have slowed their response to calls for aid.

So this year, council is considering banning all vehicles from stopping on nearby streets to make things easier for first responders.

"There's a lot of illegal parking going on," said Orest Katolyk, the city's top by-law officer. "Just for this one day we are recommending that the by-law be changed so that the area is a no stopping zone."

'I don't think it's a game changer'

London city councillor Phil Squire says Western officials 'need to get a grip' on unsanctioned Homecoming celebrations that are costing the city tens of thousands of dollars. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The proposed ban would include taxis and vehicles from online ride hailing services, such as Uber, to be directed to a designated zone, south of the Broughdale student enclave. 

"We have been in contact with Uber and the taxi brokers and we have identified some alternative pickup spots for them just outside of the general area," he said.

"It's something that may help, we'll see," said councillor Phil Squire, whose ward six constituency includes the Broughdale area. "I don't think it's a game changer."

"I think the crowd itself, people walking all over the place, people walking across streets while maybe an ambulance is trying to get out, that's the bigger challenge." 

Authorities still exploring other strategies

Orest Katolyk is the City of London's top by-law officer. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

The ban on vehicles stopping in the Broughdale area is part of a wider plan, which officials with the city, police and Western University have been planning since last fall's festivities. 

It means partygoers will face a more organized effort from local law enforcement this year as compared to years past. 

Some of the possible strategies could include heavier fines for nuisance parties, academic sanctions against students who violate the university's code of conduct and scheduling sanctioned university events at the same time as the unsanctioned street party. 

"We have a number of strategies we're exploring," Katolyk said. "For obvious reasons, that's not discussed publicly." 

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca

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