March 25, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 92  

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Brock booze bus = bad behaviour

By Anton Vidgen
Gazette Staff

An after-hours bus service run by the Brock University Students’ Union is under fire from area residents who claim drunken youth have been vandalizing their homes.

Affectionately known as the “booze bus” by inebriated frosh, the bus service picks up students from downtown bars in St. Catharines and transports them to the nearby city of Thorold, which is a popular residential area amongst Brock students.

But homeowners in the area have complained to city councillors that students dropped off by the bus have been urinating on homes, kicking over utility boxes and engaging in random acts of vandalism, explained Thorold city administrator Lorne Mitchell.

In the past three months, Mitchell said the situation has worsened to the point that there have been confrontations between intoxicated students and residents late at night. “The problems seem to have escalated,” he said, adding there have even been incidents of egging and doorbells being rung at 3 a.m.. “Residents have been intimidated and threatened.”

A police officer has been stationed on the bus to attempt to deal with uncontrollable youth, but Mitchell said the move has proved mostly ineffective, forcing Thorold’s mayor to write a formal letter to BUSU’s president, requesting the discontinuation of the service.

Though BUSU’s VP-administration and finance Bryan Butryn said the union has yet to receive the mayor’s letter, he said these problems were unexpected as there has been minimal contact with Thorold councillors.
“It’s very hard to fix something if you don’t know there’s a problem,” he said.

The students’ union meets bi-weekly with the Niagara Regional Police Department to discuss the bus service, but Butryn said there have never been any problems except for one incident in October.

University Students’ Council VP-student affairs Matt Huether said the idea of a booze bus is interesting, but there would be too many risks associated with such a venture, not least of which would be alcohol liability.
Huether said he thinks hammered Western students wanting their very own booze bus should not get their hopes up. “I don’t think the overall benefit is there.”



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