Noisy Toronto frats get silenced by police
By Donna MacMullin
Frat boy, frat boy, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Toronto city council is coming after local fraternities who are perceived to be the cause of disruption in the St. George St. area. The vicinity is known to be popular for film production and fraternity parties which have resulted in local residents often complaining about late-night noise.
In an effort to promote greater fraternity respect for other community members, council has imposed a moratorium banning all film permits in the area. The moratorium restricts production companies from filming on St. George St., eliminating revenue up to $25,000 a day generated for fraternities when their houses were used in filming production.
"We simply decided because film permits are a privilege given by the City of Toronto, unless [fraternities] want to show they are worthy of this privilege and co-operate with their neighbours, they will have this privilege taken away," said Bernard Morton, executive assistant to Toronto city councillor John Adams.
"We were dealing with problems caused by late night noise, like disposal of beer bottles and urination on public property and the majority had not been curbed over the past couple of years," Morton said, adding the police were often involved.
"We understand [fraternities] need this money for their own events but at the same time they must be worthy of this privilege," Morton said. "Film permits are a privilege not a right."
The moratorium against granting film permits was initially imposed only against the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, but now applies to all residents on the street.
Gaylen Duncan, treasurer of the Toronto chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon, said there are six or seven fraternity houses on the street but Delta Kappa Epsilon was blamed for every noise complaint.
He said he disagreed with the way matters were dealt with by city council. "We were blamed for community relation problems but we weren't even given the chance to defend ourselves," he said. "But we're not playing innocent here, we know it is a general problem and so we have changed the way we run events to control the noise level."
Bruce Jardine, president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, also located in the area, said he first heard of the moratorium on Jan. 12 when there was a community meeting with Adams, the fraternities, local police and area residents.
"Losing film production means we will have to revert back to having more parties to raise money for the frat," he said.
Although the fraternities distinguish themselves as the University of Toronto chapter, Paul Oleskevych, special projects co-ordinator for student affairs at the University of Toronto, said the university does not officially recognize fraternities as they do other campus groups.