City hall's strategy to crack down on the fake homecoming (FOCO) parties on Broughdale Avenue may be more bark than bite.
Months after proposing that landlords be held financially responsible for the annual street party in the areas around Western University, city hall is now backing down.
In a new report, city staff recommend hiking the maximum fine for hosting a nuisance party from $10,000 to $25,000.
Those held responsible could also face paying between $50 and $70 per hour to cover police, firefighter, and bylaw enforcement officer costs.
Western University student Katelyn Peters doesn't attend the FOCO party, but her friends do, and she’s skeptical the change will have any impact on attendance.
"I definitely don't think that is going to stop any of the students here on Broughdale from partying or whatever during FOCO.”
Last year 20,000 people attended the street party, 57 were sent to hospital and it cost London police $100,000.
In response, Western University recently expanded its student Code of Conduct to include activities off campus.
But toughening city hall's Public Nuisance Bylaw has proven difficult.
In May, the London Property Management Association challenged the legality of holding landlords financially responsible for the actions of their tenants.
Councillor Phil Squire says it's now party organizers who will face consequences.
"It’s really difficult to hold the owner of a property who doesn't live in it and doesn't attend the party in it financially responsible for the party itself.”
But Peters says hiking the maximum fine from $10,000 to $25,000 doesn't create any greater deterrent for financially strapped students.
"Any normal student wouldn't be able to afford $10,000 anyways, so I don't think they will care if the price goes up. They’ll party anyways.”
In fact, city hall's report admits, "It is not realistically expected that the proposed bylaw amendment would recover a substantial percentage of the City of London costs."
But Squire says a ticket could give city hall a record of student names that could be forwarded to Western for possible consequences under its code of conduct.
"I think we are going to have to rely, to a great extent, on the steps being taken by the university. The educational steps, the alternate entertainment they are having.”
City hall's Community and Protective Services Committee will discuss the recommended changes to the nuisance party bylaw next week.
Council is expected make a final decision just days before students return for the fall semester.