Mayor, University President host meeting to discuss Homecoming

Guelph, Ont., October 12, 2017– Mayor Cam Guthrie and University of Guelph President Franco Vaccarino convened a meeting this morning with City, University, emergency services, Guelph General Hospital, public health, and student leaders to debrief on what occurred during Homecoming 2017 and discuss strategies for the future.

“The President and I convened this group of leaders because we are committed to working together to address the noise and disruption in our neighbourhoods, caused by a small number of people,” said Mayor Guthrie. “The e-mails and phone calls I received after Homecoming were some of the most upsetting I have received in my time on Council. This situation is not good for anybody – for neighbours and families; for students who take pride in being a Gryphon; for police, bylaw, and hospital resources that are stretched. The City, the University, emergency services, and community partners are all taking this seriously and are united in our efforts to find solutions – not just for the next Homecoming, but throughout the year.”

Added University of Guelph President Franco Vaccarino, “Our relationship with the City of Guelph is a source of pride for our students and the entire University. It is unfortunate that the events of homecoming weekend have understandably distracted us from the many wonderful and important contributions of our students to the life and energy of this city. While events such as homecoming weekend are all too common at universities within and outside our region, we are committed to working with our neighbouring communities and the city. We enjoy a strong partnership with the City of Guelph and will continue to enhance education and communication. In fact, the University of Guelph is a model university when it comes to community and student engagement. We are proud of that history and reputation and, working with the City of Guelph, we plan to build on this positive energy.”

At the meeting, the group received an operational debrief from a Joint Operations Team comprised of City of Guelph Bylaw, Guelph Police, and University of Guelph officials. The debrief revealed there were more than 500 calls to Bylaw and Guelph Police during Homecoming. Bylaw received 221 calls for service, compared to 46 during last year’s Homecoming.

The Joint Operations Team has identified and, in some cases, already begun implementing strategies for future events. These include:

  • Discussions with neighbouring cities and universities in Waterloo, Hamilton, and London that are experiencing similar challenges
  • Pre- and post-event waste management plans will be put in place to deal more effectively with litter, street sweeping, and property standards issues
  • The University is enhancing communications underlining the importance of Gryphon values and longstanding connections with the wider community
  • The City and University will work together to enhance communications related to safety and education
  • Successful existing initiatives such as Safe Semester, pre-visits to properties with previous violations, and the party registration program will be continued and built upon.

Mayor Guthrie added, “I am pleased that, for the first time, the City’s Bylaw Division is pursuing those responsible for organizing and sponsoring large parties and invoicing them to recover costs for things such as policing, bylaw, waste collection, road closures, and cleanup.These costs should not be shouldered by the taxpayers alone.”

The Joint Operations Team meets monthly and will provide updates to City and University leadership as plans continue to be implemented.

Attendees at this morning’s meeting included Ward 5 and 6 Councillors; City administration; University administration; student leaders; Guelph’s Police and Fire Chiefs and Deputy Chief of EMS; Guelph General Hospital administration; Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health; and the Downtown Guelph Business Association.

Media Contact

Kate Sullivan, Communications Advisor
Mayor’s Office
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2558
kate.sullivan@guelph.ca

Lori Bona Hunt, News Service Director
Communications and Public Affairs
University of Guelph
519-824-4120 extension 53338
lhunt@uoguelph.ca