Posted July 3, 2013
If you live in south end residential areas where single-family homes have been converted to multi use student rentals, you may be baffled by the city’s latest attempt to solve the excessive noise and drinking problems created by students.
Basically, the city staff is requesting council to allow bylaw enforcement officers to participate in a program called “Restoratives Alternatives Program.” It is a creature proposed by the University of Guelph’s Off-Campus Living Office.
Before going any further, is Coun. Leanne Piper, employed by the university in its student housing administration, connected with this? If so. she should abstain from participating in council discussion and vote, as it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
According to the public prints, here is how it is supposed to work.
Students with alleged bylaw infractions would meet with the neighbour who laid the complaint. They would then understand how their behaviour ticked off the neighbour and how the matter would be resolved.
They must be kidding, right?
Why would any neighbour complain about a student allegedly committing a bylaw infraction if they must sit down in a kumbyah session with a bylaw officer mediating? Arbitrating? Or throw up their hands in frustration?
To make the matter even more comical and expensive, bylaw officers are being oriented to handle these kinds of complaints in an effort to involve the parties to resort to “Restorative Justice.”
The story goes on to state, “when offender and victim are able to meet face to face, they can learn about each other.” Really?
The genesis of this serious and far-reaching problem is that homes in a legally zoned single-family neighbourhood, have been allowed to be converted to student apartments without any intervention by the bylaw enforcement department.
Now the genie is out of the bottle and the kegger parties and gross behaviour of partying students, is causing havoc in nominally peaceful neighbourhoods during the school year.
The irony is the university, with a special office to handle off-campus housing, opposed an application by Abode Varsity Living to build a private student housing project at the corner of Stone Road and Gordon Street. The OMB struck down both the university and city objections and allowed the project to proceed.
Tell me, as the university grows, where do its students live? With some 22,000 students, the university supplies only some 5,000 units on its own property.
Perhaps senior university staff should reconsider their approach to provide adequate student housing on campus.
This program of Restorative Alternatives Program is like washing a car with a toothbrush.
Once again the city taxpayers must foot the bill.