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Despite efforts, even larger crowd gathers on Ezra for St. Patrick's Day

Last Updated Mar 18, 2018 at 5:49 pm EST

570 NEWS - Bryan Levesque

Despite some serious efforts by City and Regional officials – the unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day street party on Ezra Avenue went on, and was even larger than last year’s.

Numerous officers from both Waterloo and Peel Region were deployed to the Ezra area early Saturday to preach three main goals – ‘Be Smart, Stay Safe, and Be Respectful’.

WRPS Inspector Michael Haffner spoke with media Saturday evening to provide an initial update.

There’s no definitive number yet, but he notes there was certainly a “significant increase” in the number of attendees on Ezra – and explains where things got out of hand.

“Around 11 o’clock this morning as a number of keg parties were disrupted, a number of attendees then landed themselves on Ezra. Although deployed officers were attempting to maintain and encourage them to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a licensed establishment or private residence – the number of attendees spilled over onto the street.”

With assistance from the City of Waterloo – two dump trucks were moved to the corners of King and Ezra, and Albert and Ezra to mitigate any risk for the students and protect their safety from any vehicular traffic.

WRPS Constable Ashley Dietrich says the increase in attendance also resulted in a number of issues.

“While walking down Ezra, we saw a number of intoxicated individuals. Some were hanging off balconies, others were climbing trees – this certainly posed a safety risk, and officers responded appropriately.”

Dietrich adds they conducted a number of other investigations throughout the day – including assaults, impaired driving, drug seizures, and a sexual assault.

Kevin Petendra is Deputy Chief of Paramedic Services for Waterloo Region, and says they also had their hands full.

“Up until now at 6 p.m. – we have 47 calls, 25 transports … and five of those are considered serious or critical. Most would be considered alcohol misuse, and we also saw a few falls.”

Inspector Haffner says although things have wound down on Ezra – the party will ramp up again in Waterloo around 9 or 10 p.m.

“A number of individuals will move to Uptown Waterloo to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at various licensed establishments – and again we’re reminding those that are going out to look after each other. Be concerned about the excess consumption of alcohol – and be respectful, be smart, and stay safe.”

Haffner adds for the most part – students celebrating St. Paddy’s were respectful to officers throughout the day.

“However, we want to be clear that we do not condone this unsafe, unlicensed, and unsanctioned gathering of people on Ezra. This is an extensive drain on resources, and this was an attempt to discontinue these types of gatherings in the future.”