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Police, City report enforcement of University District Safety Initiative

Large crowds on University Avenue. Photo by Cris Vilela.

The City of Kingston and Kingston Police (KP) have provided information on their efforts to enforce the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) between Friday evening and Tuesday morning.

“We are witnessing an increasingly concerning trend of unlawful high-risk gathering,” said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely. “Such disrespect for the rights of others is unconscionable. Besides putting everyone in our community at risk with the COVID virus still very much a concern, the invasion of our streets and parks by irresponsible revellers shows a disappointing lack of maturity. The unsafe crowds and wanton and reckless behaviour place an inexcusable strain on resources for all community partners, whether police, by-law, paramedics, or hospital staff.”

While vaccination rates continue to increase in Kingston, large gatherings can also pose a significant risk to the community through COVID-19 transmission, according to the joint release from the City and KP, dated Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

“Community enforcement partners have been working closely to address high-risk, illegal gatherings in the community,” said Kyle Compeau, Manager of Licensing and Enforcement for the City. “We will continue to respond to resident calls and issue fines and charges when necessary.”

Bylaw Enforcement reported the following fines and charges:

Friday, Sept. 3 evening – Saturday, Sept. 4 morning

  • Nine Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) were issued for amplification of sound at a prohibited time, carrying a penalty of $200 each.
  • Two tenants received a Part Three Court Summons under the Re-open Ontario Act (ROA) for hosting a social gathering exceeding 100 attendees outside on Colborne Street.
  • Six tenants received a Part Three Court Summons under the ROA for hosting a social gathering exceeding 100 attendees outside on Albert Street.
  • Bylaw Enforcement is investigating violations under the ROA for a gathering that took place on Collingwood Street for hosting a social gathering exceeding 100 attendees outside.

Saturday, Sept. 4 evening – Sunday, Sept. 5 morning

  • 20 AMPs were issued for amplification of sound at a prohibited time, carrying a penalty of $200 each.

Sunday, Sept. 5 evening – Monday, Sept. 6 morning

  • Six AMPs were issued for amplification of sound at a prohibited time, carrying a penalty of $200 each.
  • Three tenants received a Part Three Court Summons under the ROA for hosting a social gathering exceeding 100 attendees outside on Victoria Street.
  • A nuisance party was declared by Kingston Police at 1:11 a.m. on University Avenue.

Summary

  • A total of 11 individuals are being summoned to court for hosting illegal social gatherings. The minimum associated fine is $10,000.
  • 35 AMPs were issued. A total of $7,000 worth in penalty notices were issued over the weekend.

Kingston Police reported the following fines and charges:

Friday, Sept. 3 evening – Tuesday, Sept. 7 morning

  • 106 noise complaint calls for services
  • 53 fines for open liquor under the Liquor License Act
  • Seven Highway Traffic Act violations
  • One arrest and subsequent charge for public intoxication
  • Three AMPs for amplified noise

The infractions above occurred within the University District, with officers estimating crowds ranging from 3,500 to 5,000 individuals at various times.

Additionally, on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, Kingston Police reported the following fines and charges stemming from events from the night before:

  • Eight Part One Summons for having open alcohol contrary to the Liquor Licence Act
  • One Part One Summons for Person Under 19 having/consuming alcohol contrary to the Liquor Licence Act

There were approximately 3,000 to 4,000 people in attendance at the various large gatherings in the University District over the night of Thursday, Sept. 2 and into the morning of Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, according to police.

“The Kingston Police continue to be disappointed with the large unlawful gatherings of individuals in the University District, which pose unnecessary public health risks to our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also concerned with the increased display of willful disregard for public safety and the hostility directed at both police and by-law officers as they attempted to clear the streets, not only to allow traffic and emergency vehicles to move freely in the area but also to address safety concerns about individuals walking on the roadways and into live lanes of traffic. Citizens have also expressed their dismay about the loud noise and damage to property in their neighbourhoods,” Chief McNeely said on Friday.

“In partnership with City By-law, the Kingston Police will continue to enforce all applicable laws, including offences in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act, City of Kingston By-Law 2018-53 [A By-Law to Regulate Nuisance Parties within the City of Kingston (Nuisance Party By-Law)], the Liquor Licence Act, and other provincial statutes.”

University District Safety Initiative remains in effect until Sept. 19

Residents are asked to avoid large gatherings, as the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI) is in effect from 11:59 p.m. Aug. 27 to 11:59 p.m. Sept. 19.

The City can issue AMPs for Nuisance Party and Noise Bylaws infractions, meaning that fines for contravening these bylaws can now be issued and resolved directly through the City. Kingston Police and City Bylaw Enforcement Officers still issue fines through the standard process, meaning that a fine under the Nuisance Party Bylaw could still result in a Part One Court Summons and a mandatory court appearance.

Furthermore, provincial COVID-19 regulations under the Re-opening Ontario Act are still in effect, meaning that individuals violating these laws could receive a Part Three Court Summons and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Learn more about the many City measures in place to discourage unsanctioned large gatherings, including the Noise and Nuisance Party bylaws and the University District Safety Initiative.

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