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South end neighbourhood group wants Homecoming contained on U of G campus

'Put this activity where it belongs – on the University of Guelph campus'
The aftermath of a huge party on Chancellor's Way that happened on Homecoming.

The neighbourhood that was in the eye of the Homecoming hurricane last month says that if things don’t improve, the event should be put on hiatus or banned.

The McElderry Residents Community Inc. (MRCI) believes the first step should be keeping Homecoming festivities contained on campus as much as possible.

“We do strongly feel that the university needs to take more responsibility here,” said MRCI spokesperson Linda Davis in an interview.

“We want to try and contain it,” Davis said. “If not, then more stringent efforts need to take place.”

Those efforts include a possible moratorium on the annual event or an outright ban.

The MRCI represents those that live in the neighbourhood bordered by Gordon Street, Stone Road, Scottsdale Drive and Edinburgh Road South. It has 450 people on its mailing list.

Parties, noise, lewd behaviour, garbage and some property damage were all an issue in the neighbourhood on Sept. 23, throughout the day and overnight, said Davis.

“People in the neighbourhood were shocked by the bad behaviour that went on,” Davis said.

University, city and law enforcement officials have all expressed concern what happened on Sept. 23 and are working on measures to help prevent it from happening again in the future.

Davis said the U of G has taken some steps to try and reduce the amount of problems, but she said nothing seems to work.

“It just seems there’s a bit of a mob mentality … people are determined to create chaos and have wild parties.”

The MRCI has formalized its concerns over the event, and student behaviour in general, and has come up with what it feels are recommendations to help mitigate problems.

At the forefront of those is holding future Homecomings on the university campus.

“Put this activity where it belongs – on the University of Guelph campus,” reads the recommendations the MRCI shared with the U of G and the city.

“Use university venues and resources for policing and clean-up. Encourage students to party on campus by making it a great event.”

“Hopefully, containment on campus will afford a win-win solution: students can party, and the community can sleep at night. But if implementation of this recommendation proves unsuccessful, then the university and city should place a moratorium or outright ban on Homecoming.

“By inaction, the university knowingly moves the bad behaviour and its consequences into the community, which is forced to pay the price,” says the MRCI’s recommendations.

Other recommendations include maintaining a list of off-campus student addresses, enforcing penalties and establishing a landlord registry for student rental properties.

Davis said the problems with students in the neighbourhood extend beyond Homecoming.

“We’ve had several complaints about individual homes where people have no regards for the community at all,” she said.

“People are just tired of it all,” she said, adding that the MRCI wants to keep the issue on the front burner so that it doesn’t get ignored until the next time it happens.