Going to spew? Spew at home

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Vomitting by a gate

Jonas Hrebeniuk

MAKING ROBERT DOWNEY JR’S ANTICS LOOK TAME. The City of St. Catharines proposed a by-law that will fine people who vomit in public. It’s a good thing it isn’t in London, as 80 per cent of Jacks’ patrons would be in deep trouble.

You will have to swallow your chunkies if you’re feeling nauseous in St. Catharines.

A nuisance by-law proposed by St. Catharines’ city council will fine citizens $300 for tossing their cookies, fighting, or spitting in public. Anyone caught knocking over mailboxes, fences or hedges could receive a $250 ticket under the new legislation as well.

James O’Brien, president of the Brock University Students’ Union, hopes the city will apply the policy fairly to all citizens rather than focusing only on students.

The number of incidents involving Brock students has declined this year, but O’Brien said it seems they are suffering more scrutiny than ever from city councilors.

Lately, Brock students have been in heated discussions with administration over the possibility of applying the student code of conduct to off-campus students.

Although O’Brien thinks the proposed by-law does not necessarily target students, he suggested the city could have chosen a more opportune time to implement the policy.

“I think the timing of it was poor, considering all the talk about the student code of conduct.”

The Gazette could not reach any St. Catharines city council members for comment.

At Western, students need not worry about a similar policy coming to campus.

“As far as I’m concerned, [a similar by-law] hasn’t been considered at Western,” Campus Community Police Service Director Elgin Austen said.

Public vomiting and other indecent behaviour is not much of a problem at Western, according to Austen.

Western thinks approaching instances of inappropriate behaviour on an individual basis is a better solution than using a broad policy like the one in St. Catharines.

O’Brien agreed fines don’t deal with the core problem.

“If [the city] thinks that [students’] behaviour is not becoming of a community member, I think they should try to make them feel more of a community member, rather than alienating them.”

City of London Controller Bud Polhill thought St. Catharines was smart to pursue a by-law against property damages, but said the vomiting fine was not such a spectacular idea.

Polhill worried innocent citizens may be punished unfairly by legislation aimed at people hurling after too many martinis.

“If somebody’s got the flu, it can be very difficult to find a washroom.”

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