Brock steps up to promote a safe, respectful Grape and Wine weekend

As Niagara residents get ready for this weekend’s Grape and Wine festivities, Brock University’s executive and student leaders are reminding members of the Brock community to celebrate in ways that are respectful of neighbours and neighbourhoods.

Saturday afternoon, thousands of people will jam the streets of downtown St. Catharines for the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival’s Grande Parade. Afterward, many people head for Festival events in Montebello Park, or get together in downtown restaurants and pubs.

Niagara is home to more than 20,000 university and college students, and the presidents of Brock University and the Brock University Students’ Union have come out asking them to play it smart during the Grape and Wine festivities.

University officials are working with Niagara Regional Police and with city officials in St. Catharines and Thorold to try and head off any noise or behavior problems, especially in residential neighbourhoods that have concentrations of students living off-campus.

As part of its commitment, Brock is paying for up to four additional Niagara Regional Police officers to be on duty Friday and Saturday evenings, helping monitor residential neighbourhoods in the two cities.

Although Brock officials have no jurisdiction or right to intervene for activities in locations beyond the campus, University officials are working with St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik and Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani to co-operate on bylaw enforcement efforts. Brock staff will also be helping inspect residential neighbourhoods overnight Saturday and Sunday.

Brock’s Off-Campus Living staff have been contacting Thorold and St. Catharines residents who voiced concerns after parties last week during Brock’s Homecoming Weekend, and provided them with contact information for appropriate officials.

The same staff have also been knocking on doors at student properties that have been the subject of complaints, and contacting landlords, informing them of concerns raised regarding their properties.

Brock President Gervan Fearon said the University is committed to enhancing and continuing to do everything it can to educate its students, living on and off campus, about the importance of being good neighbours.

“It is the University’s overall mission to be a good partner who works to make our communities stronger and more healthy,” said Fearon. “That includes making a concerted effort to ensure our students live up to the expectations of our university, respect the laws of the city and reflect good citizenship.”

In a similar vein, Brock University Students’ Union President Faisal Hejazi used social media to reach out to Brock’s more than 18,000 students.

“We have an exciting weekend ahead of us with the Grape and Wine Parade and festivities coming up,” he said in a Facebook post.

“It’s a great time to celebrate all of the awesome things that Niagara has to offer. With that said, please be cognizant of the fact that we are all members of a larger community, and as community members, we have a responsibility to be respectful and courteous to our neighbours, our fellow students, and our city officials. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, please remember to enjoy responsibly, have fun and be safe.”

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