Costs of managing and responding to St. Patrick's Day gathering

Posted On Wednesday April 17, 2019

The cost of planning and managing the unsanctioned 2019 St. Patrick’s Day event cost the City of Waterloo, Waterloo Regional Police (WRPS), Waterloo Fire Rescue, Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services, Wilfrid Laurier University and University of Waterloo a combined $767,211.

The breakdown is as follows:

WRPS: $286,400
City of Waterloo: $90,500
Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services: $85,000
Wilfrid Laurier University: $295,311
University of Waterloo: $10,000

Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky:
“These costs aren’t sustainable and I remain very concerned about the impact the unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day gathering has on our community, residents and first responders. “This is money that could be better used to meet other community needs. The increase in the crowd size this year continues a disturbing trend. We also saw an increase in the number of people taking unnecessary risks and potentially compromising the safety of others.”

Bryan Larkin, Chief of Police for the Waterloo Regional Police Service:
“We remain extremely concerned for the safety of those attending unsanctioned public gatherings. We remain equally concerned for the first responders who have to attend this event and for the impact it has on the community. The costs associated with this event are simply unsustainable and, as we move forward, we will continue to work with our community partners and members of the joint task force to find alternatives to this unlawful gathering.”

Stephen VanValkenburg, Chief of Waterloo Paramedic Services:
“We continue to be concerned about the growing risk to public safety that these types of gatherings create not to mention the safety of our first responders. Paramedic Services was prepared for an increase in call volumes throughout the weekend and worked closely with system partners to meet the daily needs of our community while managing the increase in volume in the Ezra Ave area. Our service is committed to providing excellence in patience care in any circumstance and we will continue to work with our partners to find ways to mitigate the risks associated with this type of unsanctioned street gathering going forward.”

David McMurray, Laurier’s vice-president of student affairs:
“Laurier is united with our municipal and emergency services partners in actively discouraging unsanctioned street gatherings. The overall partner costs for maintaining safety and security, while necessary for the current situation, are unsustainable. We are committed to working with our community partners to find solutions to this challenge, and we look forward to our continued involvement with the Mayor’s Task Force on Unsanctioned Public Gatherings.”

The City of Waterloo and the WRPS, under the auspices of the Town & Gown Committee, teamed up with local community agencies and partners to address the growing problem of unsanctioned public gatherings and events in the city through the formation of the Unsanctioned Public Gatherings Task Force.

The task recommendations will be focused on achieving three outcomes: reduce (one-to-two years), refocus (two-to-five years) and prevent (five years plus). The task force is co-led by the city and Waterloo Regional Police Service. The task force is currently undertaking research to better understand the reasons behind the growth of these types of events, including consulting with event attendees and students.


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Tony Iavarone
Director of Communications
City of Waterloo

Cherri Greeno 
Media Relations Coordinator 
Waterloo Regional Police Service
519-570-9777 ext. 8773 

Kevin Crowley
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University
519-884-0710 ext. 3070

Julie Kalbfleisch
Manager, Information & Communications
Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services