Cracking down on rooftop parties

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV

KINGSTON – St. Patrick’s Day celebrations near the Queen’s campus were taken to a higher level — way up…. onto the roof.
It’s called ‘brewfing’.
Dozens of students could be seen climbing out of windows — trying to perch on private roof tops with drinks in hand — facing obvious dangers.
Now the city is considering banning rooftop gatherings, known as ‘brewfing.’

Bryan Paterson/Mayor, Kingston:
“We haven’t committed to a bylaw against brewfing but we are looking at a nuisance bylaw that could look at a variety of different activities that we may not want to encourage. Drinking of rooftops is of course a concern when it comes to safety.”

Kingston Police say without a bylaw in place– their hands are tied when it comes to stopping rooftop gatherings on private property.

Staff Sgt. Matt Funnell/Kingston Police:
“Rooftops and those types of things are just bad decisions. We have no enforceable authority to go and remove them. Unless it becomes overcrowded and we’d have the fire department help us…”

“It’s just going to take one dreadful occurrence to change attitudes.. One false step on a roof that may be your last false step.”

Retired professor Geoff Smith has lived near the University District for decades.
He’s been on his own crusade to curb student drinking… and the dangerous behaviour that’s often associated with it.

Geoff Smith/Kingston Resident:
” In my view it’s very difficult. Because it goes to the root of the problem. The problem is the place of alcohol at Queen’s on homecoming… St. Patrick’s Day… Orientation.”

Heather Senoran:
“But not everyone is a fan of implementing stricter laws when it comes to regulating private gatherings like the ones that take place here in the University District.
There are concerns it could be viewed as discriminatory towards students.”

Some students don’t see the need to regulate their rooftop activities.

“It is dangerous but it’s fun. You get to connect with your friends and just party on a roof. When else can you do that?”

“It should be done on a roof by roof basis, depending on how safe the roof is rather than a blanket ban on partying at all up there.”

Kingston’s mayor says more study is needed on the experience of other Ontario university towns before the city decides what steps, if any, are taken to regulate rooftop gatherings.

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