As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police have issued a release reminding partiers to stay safe and to be mindful of the risks that reckless and high-risk nuisance behaviour pose.
Under the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI), a fine or charge received could be retained as a permanent police record, resulting in real impacts for an individual’s future academic or career prospects, but unsafe parties can also impact the community, the City said, noting that most importantly, unsafe behaviour can also negatively affect an individual’s wellbeing and the safety of the broader community.
“We strongly encourage everyone to please act safely and look out for one another,” said Kingston Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Donaldson. “The risks of unsafe fires, partiers gathering on a roof or too many people trying to fit on a porch are compounded when mixed with alcohol and drug use and could lead to serious injuries or even death.”
According to the release, the high-risk behaviours often associated with large gatherings and nuisance behaviour put Kingston’s emergency services under pressure. Every preventable call to Kingston Fire & Rescue, Frontenac Paramedics and Kingston Police could mean a delayed response for another emergency in the city. These sorts of gatherings also place stress on hospitals, which are required to respond to otherwise preventable injuries, resulting in reduced emergency capacity and longer wait times.
University District Safety Initiative (USDI) is in effect
The UDSI is in effect from Thursday, Mar. 9 at 12 a.m. to Sunday, Mar. 19 at 11:59 p.m. During the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police will have an increased presence in the University District, responding to calls and proactively patrolling for nuisance behaviour, according to the release.
The City and Kingston Police provided the following details:
- A “Nuisance Party” is defined as a gathering on Premises which, by reasons of the conduct or any one or more of the Person(s) in attendance, is characterized by behaviours including, but not limited to: public intoxication; the unlawful sale, furnishing, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or controlled substances; damage to public or private property; excessive sound; and more. The Nuisance Party and Noise By-Laws can be found on the City’s website.
- Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) can be issued for nuisance party infractions. These fines can be issued by and paid to the City directly. Under the UDSI, a fine under the nuisance party bylaw or liquor licensing act can also result in a mandatory court summons.
- Students fined under the UDSI may also face non-academic sanctions through their post-secondary institution, depending on the rules or policies in place at that institution.
Bylaw Enforcement and Kingston Police are working closely with other community partners and institutions, including Queen’s University, Frontenac Paramedic Services, Kingston Health Sciences Centre and KFL&A Public Health to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, according to the release.
“Our Police Liaison Teams have been out in the University District, on campus, and at various other educational institutions speaking directly with students and residents, informing them of the risks and penalties associated with nuisance behaviour,” said Kingston Police Chief Scott Fraser. “Don’t let one party lead to a fine that could possibly jeopardize your future career prospects.”
Community safety is paramount
“Keeping everyone safe is our number one priority. We know many people are excited to celebrate with friends, but it cannot come at the expense of our community,” said Kyle Compeau, Manager of Enforcement Services with the City of Kingston. “Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement are prepared to respond to gatherings that cross the line into nuisance behaviour.”
According to the release, city staff in multiple departments, including Kingston Fire & Rescue, Transportation Services and Public Works are also collaborating with community partners in various capacities as part of an ongoing effort to ensure that service impacts resulting from St. Patrick’s Day are mitigated and that everyone stays safe.