You’ve probably heard about the Brock U. Homecoming Weekend house party on Winterberry by now. You’ve probably seen the story in a dozen places, watched the video and read the troll comments (no doubt from multiple sides). No one needs much more information about the event itself, which attracted to this residential family neighbourhood the 400-500 students whose parents likely don’t know (I hope) that they’re spending their first week studying booze labels, questionable substances, and not engaged in higher learning.
However, Tuesday evening’s Council saw the political fallout.
Marsha Coppola, owner of Da Bomb! Bath Co on Front Street and a Winterberry Blvd. resident, spoke for a couple of dozen other very concerned residents about the seemingly trouble in that neighbourhood. She started off by telling the Mayor and Councillors that she was looking t o sell.
“I can no longer live on Winterberry,” she said. “It’s no longer liveable.”
She went on to explain that, when the subdivision was being built, nobody thought that such expensive houses would be bought for use as student residences. Ms Coppola claimed that Mountainview Homes assured her that the West Community off Richmond St. would be a family-oriented development. She said she realizes the work various City Councils have done to try to stop the problems, but the speeding, garbage, noise, and parking problems just continue to get worse. “The street itself is starting to look like a ghetto.”
Marsha went on to call for zoning for no more than five bedrooms and licencing of rentals, which would lead to increased safety and property inspections. Councillor Ugulini assured her that the process for a licencing would be starting soon. He urged the people present to come to the public meeting when it is announced. “We’ll need your voices when the landlords come,” he said, pointing out that the landlords would come out in force and Council needed voices from the other side on the record.
She blames much of the trouble on the fact that these kids don’t have that fear of getting into trouble like we did growing up. She urged Council to think of ways to keep them from moving away, because they don’t want to. “The fact that I’m willing to leave my dream home tells you a lot.”
In partial reply, City of Thorold CAO Manoj Dilwaria, listed off what By-Laws Enforcement has done since that Friday. They’ve done numerous safety and fire inspections, talked to the students about being good citizens, handed out parking tickets, and gave Clean Yards notices (which have been complied with). The police had promised a presence, he said, adding, “But we know what happened.”
Councillor Ugulini added that over 50 parking tickets were handed out and they met with the Brock U. president and drove him around the affected area. Mayor Luciani pointed out that the same president had promised a code of conduct for students.
When Councillor Paone, a teacher at Brock, asked Ms Coppola whether things things had become better or worse, he received a definite and unqualified “Worse.”