The Town of Antigonish issued a press release on Monday regarding homecoming weekend.
Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher
The release stated a post-event evaluation from the RCMP and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital stated officers were busy but there was a noticeable improvement from last year. Following Monday’s regular council meeting, Mayor Laurie Boucher said the planning for homecoming this year started shortly after last year’s homecoming with a working group.
Boucher said the open dialogue between the town, the RCMP, local landlords, the hospital and the university, helped mitigate some of the challenges from last year.
During the meeting, councillor Diane Roberts inquired about the extra costs associated with the increased police presence and town staff are looking into those costs compared to an average weekend in the town.
When asked if those extra costs would mitigate any future donations to StFX, Boucher said no, adding there are many good-news partnerships with the university.
Prior to homecoming weekend, the town offered $4,000 in funding to an on-campus event in hopes of curbing some of the issues experienced during last year’s event.
A representative from the RCMP says the Homecoming weekend in Antigonish was better than last year from a policing standpoint.
Sgt. Warren McBeath said between Friday evening and Sunday at lunchtime, police charged 27 people under the liquor control act, issued 15 motor vehicle act charges, and housed 16 people in cells, primarily for being intoxicated.
Last year, there were 53 charges related to the liquor control act, 24 motor vehicle act charges, and 17 people ended up in cells.
McBeath said while there is always room for improvement, it is a step in the right direction. He said they still had to deal with a lot of foot traffic in the town from students and alumni. McBeath also said two people went to hospital in incidents involving a person falling off a deck, and another in which a person fell off a roof onto a deck and broke their ankle.
The Sgt. said people were generally compliant when the police intervened, adding there was good communication between off-campus residents and the university and the town in terms of people being aware there would be consequences for any infractions.
StFX University’s Homecoming event for 2018 kicks off with the X Sports Hall of Fame Induction
St. FX Chapel
ceremony on Thursday evening. On Friday, there will be a campus walking tour, a women’s rugby match, a welcome home dinner and presentation of Alumni awards of excellence followed by a mix and mingle. Saturday morning will see a fun run, followed by coffee with Coady and a hall of honour induction ceremony. The football game will start at 2 with a president’s reception and golden grad dinner in the evening followed by a pub night.
A chancellor installation is set for Sunday morning, followed by an alumni mass, a walking tour, and a pair of soccer games.
Glen Horne, president of the StFX Alumni Association, said Homecoming is a time for alumni to reconnect with former classmates and friends, as well as see what’s new on campus. Horne aslo said this year looks to be bigger than last year in terms of returnees.
Horne said the association is always looking to improve the events to make sure they meet the expectations of the alumni who make the trip.
Recent discussions between St.FX Univeristy and the town and county of Antigonish were positive, and all groups are looking for ways to improve student life in the
area. The topic was brought up during last evening’s county council meeting, where Warden Owen McCarron says he attended a meeting with members of both councils and university officials.
McCarron says topics varied, but discussion around Homecoming spurred a great deal of conversation from every side of the table. McCarron says that the university is looking at ways to build a framework around the week long celebrations:
McCarron says he was pleased to see the groups meeting and looking for improvements even after the hustle and bustle of home coming has wrapped up. McCarron says that everyone wants to find ways to make the event safe for students and residents of Antigonish.