On Monday afternoon, agencies that have been working together as part of the task force to address large unsanctioned gatherings in London shared information about the events that happened on Saturday, September 28. Organizations that participated in the task force include the City of London, Western University, Western University Students’ Council, London Police Service, Middlesex-London Paramedic Service and London Fire Department.
The task force was formed at the request of London Mayor Ed Holder who called for a response and a better plan to address unsanctioned gatherings. Safety was the driving factor behind the task force, with actions focused on reducing the risks for those attending and for London overall.
A number of changes were introduced this year. These included the following:
- A task force-driven community safety plan was developed – the culmination of months of planning
- Enhanced communications, with consistent messages and content shared by all organizations, and extended outreach as well
- Enhanced collaboration among all first responders in developing operating procedures specific to unsanctioned gatherings
- Improvement to the University Students’ Council’s Purple Fest as alternative programming, including a different event location further from Broughdale Ave, earlier start time (9:30am), time-based incentive for arrival (food voucher for entry before 11:00am), and increased venue capacity
- Changes to Western University’s Code of Student Conduct, which now applies to conduct at unsanctioned events that become associated with the university due to the nature of the event or the number of students involved
- Changes to City of London By-laws, including increased fines for nuisance parties and the ability to recover remedial costs
The collective emphasis on safety from the Task Force appears to have led to:
- Fewer people on rooftops
- Fewer hospital visits
- No serious injuries
- Fewer charges laid
- Attendees were generally well behaved and responsive to direction from first responders on site when asked
Agencies responding throughout the day reported the following:
- Estimated number of attendees on Broughdale: Approximately 25,000 people (at its peak)
- Estimated number of attendees at Purple Fest: 13,000 people (at its peak)
- No Criminal Code/ CDSA charges were laid
- Number of provincial offences: There were 14 arrests, 62 tickets and 2070 warnings
- By-Law issued 10 Public Nuisance charges and one littering charge, all on Broughdale.
- Middlesex-London Paramedic Service evaluated 82 potential patients during the event, and transported 31 to hospital, with no serious injuries
- London Fire Department issued 2 charges under the Ontario Fire Code and issued 592 warnings under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, related to overcrowding and people on roofs.
- Number of charges and arrests at Purple Fest: 0