ANTIGONISH: Representatives from town council and the RCMP are hoping to take part in a meeting about last month’s StFX Homecoming Weekend.
Antigonish RCMP Sgt. Warren MacBeath said police dealt with a number of incidents during the September 30-October 1 weekend, including 43 tickets for illegal possession of alcohol, eight more for intoxication in public, two for underage drinking, as well as 24 Motor Vehicle Act-related charges, three charges of impaired driving or refusing to provide a breath sample, one charge of possession of marijuana, and one charge of possession of cocaine. Police also lodged 15 students in cells due to intoxication.
“That’s very high,” said MacBeath. “You heard about all the stuff that happened down at Dalhousie University for their homecoming weekend a couple of weeks later and the public outcry about that. We ended up doing more enforcement action than Halifax did. That’s for sure.”
Antigonish Deputy Mayor William Cormier said he is looking forward to an as yet unscheduled meeting between the town, police, university representatives, students, and local landlords to discuss the situation and come up with possible solutions.
“In the background, they’re getting a meeting together with the town, the university, the landlords, and the RCMP,” said Cormier, noting the town is looking at re-establishing the town and gown committee, which involved university representatives meeting with town officials for semi-regular updates.
“What happened there, it wasn’t as bad as Halifax but it was bad,” said Cormier. “There were people walking around the streets, there was public urination, it was pretty bad. They’re going to put their heads together and see if they can come up with something. They’re going to work on it.”
Cormier said he thinks new strategies have to be used in order to contain the issue, such as providing more activities for students without alcohol.
“There is a very good working relationship between the town, the RCMP, the university and the landlords,” said Cormier. “That is a very positive foundation that I think we can build off of but at the end of the day, we’re going to have to try something different or it’s just going to repeat again and again.”
MacBeath said the RCMP looks forward to being a part of the meeting.
“I’ve requested it as well,” the Staff Sergeant added.