“We know it’s only a small percentage of students who cause problems,” says Wolfville CAO Diane Mombourquette.
Mombourquette was speaking to council last month about the ongoing issue of student partying in the town. She brought back a report full of ideas to council on the findings of the Neighbourhood Opportunities for Wolfville working group on Dec. 17.
Among them are bylaws forcing landlords clean up rental properties, creation of a housing authority and the hiring of a bylaw officer to enforce noise and unsightly premises.
Mombourquette said consequences for partying students through controls in the university non-academic judicial process are already underway.
Antigonish already has two bylaw officers, she explained, and nuisance behaviour, like ripping up flowers, could be covered under bylaw.
Another idea is the creation of a permit for large gatherings of people that requires the property owners’ permission.
The CAO said that there have been more EHS calls to the Acadia University campus this fall, but fewer hospital visits due, in large part, to the student-volunteer Red and Blue Crew.
In late August, Acadia president Ray Ivany announced key steps the university was taking to reduce high-risk drinking.
Mombourquette said the town could also work with the province to allow licensed establishments to stay open beyond 1 a.m. for better diffusion of partying young adults. The later time frame would feature non-liquor service hours.
Coun. Dan Sparkman questioned a permit process for large gatherings because it might create one more level of paperwork that absentee landlords would have no incentive to complete.
Coun. Carl Oldham said he likes the idea of an enforcement officer and Coun. Hugh Simpson termed it a huge step in the right direction.
“We could put a bite on disheveled, falling down places,” he said.
Deputy Mayor David Mangle agreed that joining up with the community living committee was a natural step to take.
Staff recommendations will be presented to town council on Jan. 8.