St. Patrick’s Day brought another large, unsanctioned gathering to Waterloo

By Justine Fraser

Just under 10,000 people showed up on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Waterloo’s university district.

During the Waterloo Police Services Board meeting today, WRPS chief Mark Crowell said he was concerned about the spiraling costs.

The costs for the police this year is still being calculated. Crowell said those numbers will be available at the next board meeting in April.

“We know that the neighbourhood that has been affected, and the larger Waterloo Region community continues to be concerned but this unsanctioned gathering is now mounting towards levels that are growing every year,” said Crowell.

Over the weekend, police laid out 257 charges, which is up from 230 the year before. They added that 10 arrests were made, which is down from 18 from the year before.

Police say a full operational plan was in place for Friday to Sunday.

No violent incidents from the unsanctioned gathering occurred over the weekend, according to police.

“Our ability to manage a crowd that size required significant resources, the on the ground information is that people were largely cooperative, compliant and willing to work with us to keep them save,” said Crowell.

From the middle of the day towards the early evening on Saturday, Crowell said they saw a collection of individuals gathering. By Sunday, most of those parties tamed down and there was no unsanctioned gathering that day.

“Our concerns relate to, not only the spiraling costs of this, but also the potential for danger, the high-risk activity that can occur and has occurred in the past.”

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