City of Waterloo puts special noise bylaw in place for homecoming weekend

In an attempt to squash big university parties, the City of Waterloo has put a special noise bylaw in place for the upcoming homecoming weekend.

Before the pandemic, homecoming weekend at schools like Laurier University would draw thousands of students to party on the streets.

With large gatherings having popped up across campuses in the past weeks, the city is hoping to get a handle on partying.

“The reality is that if your parents at home wouldn’t let you have a party starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, neither will the mayor and neither will the community,” said Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworksy. “We don’t want it to start that early. We want it to be nice and calm and enjoy the football game.”

City council passed the special bylaw Monday night that will make noise complaints enforceable any time of the day during homecoming weekend.

Under normal conditions, a noise complaint is only enforceable after 11 p.m., but from Sept. 24-26 when Laurier and the University of Waterloo are hosting homecoming celebrations, loud parties at any time of the day could result in a fine.

Regional police have handed out more than 200 charges since students returned to class under the label of “Project Safe Semester.”

“Certainly the vast majority of students in our community are responsible and I’m proud of them for that, but there are a number who have caused some gatherings that have been concerning,” said Jaworsky.

Ontario’s COVID-19 rules currently cap outdoor gatherings at 100 people, but despite this, officers have responded to a number of large parties in the university district, including one they say had over 2,500 people at it.

Over the weekend, a large party at the University of Guelph saw a residence building damaged and four open liquor tickets handed out. The school says they are reviewing surveillance video and investigating.