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Feb. 28, 2017
For Immediate Release

Waterloo – Be smart. Stay safe. Show respect. These are the simple, yet essential, messages that community partners are promoting to encourage safe and responsible St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. From doorknockers to posters, the message is clear: be safe, show respect to neighbours and each other, and play by the rules.

The City of Waterloo – including Waterloo Fire Rescue and municipal enforcement – is again working with the Waterloo Regional Police Service, the Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Wilfrid Laurier University, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, the University of Waterloo and the University of Waterloo Federation of Students to ensure the safety of those participating in local St. Patrick’s Day activities, which traditionally take place March 17.

Over the years, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have grown in size, with participants – from the local area and visitors from other cities – gathering on Ezra Street in Waterloo. There is no licensed street event, and while the gathering is not officially organized or condoned, student and neighbourhood safety remains the top priority for city officials and local institutions.

The community partners and university student leaders and athletes will again take to the streets in a door-knocker campaign March 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“We are engaging with students about their roles as Waterloo residents, and educating property owners about their responsibilities,” said Shayne Turner, director of Municipal Enforcement Services at the City of Waterloo.

Students, along with university and community partner officials and enforcement personnel, will be spreading messages about safety and respect along with specific tips from police, fire and municipal enforcement that range from “consuming alcohol in public areas is prohibited” and “respect your neighbours’ properties” to the dollar figures for municipal fines associated with excessive noise, littering and excess garbage. The overarching peer-to-peer message will be one of respect, encouraging students to respect their neighbours and to take pride in representing their university communities.

“We look forward to connecting with residents and encouraging patrons to behave responsibly,” said Mike Haffner, executive officer for the Waterloo Regional Police Service. “Our message is simple – make safe choices, follow the law, look after each other, and respect the community.”

Waterloo fire and municipal enforcement officials have met with property owners and are encouraging those participating to behave responsibly.

“We are here to make sure that the day is a safe one,” said Richard Hepditch, fire chief at Waterloo Fire Rescue. “We would like to remind people to keep all roadways clear in the event that emergency service vehicles need to respond.”

While the messages reach local students directly, activities increasingly attract participants from out of town. Students are encouraged to share messages of safety and respect with visitors. This year, because St. Patrick’s Day falls during March break, officials will coordinate with school boards to extend the safety messages to high schools and remind parents to be diligent about their children’s whereabouts on St. Patrick’s Day.

Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Waterloo and their student unions are partnering in the collaborative efforts to promote safety messages.

“Laurier is pleased to work closely with the City of Waterloo and our community partners on safety initiatives around St. Patrick’s Day,” said Leanne Holland Brown, dean of students for Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus. “First and foremost, we expect students to attend regularly scheduled classes. For those outside of class, we place the highest priority on student and community safety and demonstrating respect for our neighbours, enforcement officers and each other.”

“Given that St. Patrick's Day seems to have a unique place on the calendar of some students, we want to make efforts to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of our local community," said Chris Read, associate provost, students at the University of Waterloo.

Students are encouraged to explore on-campus options for St. Patrick’s Day, including non-alcoholic events at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, or attending on-campus entertainment venues.

Laurier’s EcoHawks will conduct a neighbourhood cleanup Saturday, March 18. Media are welcome; time and meeting location will be confirmed.

Members of the media are welcome to follow the doorknocker campaign and can confirm their participation with Tony Iavarone at tony.iavarone@waterloo.ca. Participants will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Michael’s Church parking lot on March 9.

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Contact

Tony Iavorone, Director Communications
City of Waterloo
519-747-8513 or tony.iavarone@waterloo.ca

Cherri Greeno, Media Relations Coordinator
Waterloo Regional Police Service
519-650-8500 ext. 8773 or cherri.greeno@wrps.on.ca

Richard Hepditch, Chief
Waterloo Fire Rescue
519-884-6030 ext. 23332 or Richard.hepditch@waterloo.ca

Lori Chalmers Morrison, Associate Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 3067 or lchalmersmorrison@wlu.ca

Matthew Grant, Director
Media Relations
University of Waterloo
226-929-7627 or matthew.grant@uwaterloo.ca 

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