As October approaches, Western students and other London citizens are getting prepared for “unofficial HOCO.”

In an effort to curb the original Homecoming festivities, the City of London and London Police Services sent out a letter to Broughdale residents.

The letter stated:

- "Over the past several years, Broughdale Avenue has been the focal point for an unofficial gathering to celebrate Homecoming."

- "Upwards of 10,000 people crowded the street for a Homecoming party."

- "Homecoming has been moved to October 22, 2016 and programming is well underway to provide safe and fun student and alumni activities." 

- "We are informing you of the regulations of this bylaw as nuisance parties have occurred in this area previously and you, as the property owner (in addition to occupants or tenants), may be subject to fines."

The letter acknowledges the unofficial parties set for Oct. 1 and outlines the city's public nuisance bylaw and associated fines. Those violating the bylaw could face up to a $10,000 fine.

Oct. 1 was the original date set for Western’s annual Homecoming, but back in June the University moved the date to Oct. 22. The University hoped that busy schedules and colder weather would hinder students from participating in Homecoming activities on Broughdale. 

“The police, after last year where they were really in a situation of barely being able to contain it, want to be proactive this year and really look at these situations before they get out of hand,” said Phil Squire, councillor for ward 6 — Western's ward.

Since the date change was announced, many students have expressed outrage over the move and vowed to celebrate Homecoming on the original date. A Facebook event for the Oct. 1 Homecoming — "Western HOCO #1 2016" — has 3,600 students who clicked attending and 2,300 students 'interested' in attending. 

In explaining the reasons for taking on these extra measures and sending out the letters, Squire said the city and police want residents to be well informed of the possible penalties. 

Squire personally visited Broughdale on Homecoming last year and said it was unlike anything he had ever seen before. He fears there could be an injury or harmful incident of some sort and wants to be proactive about the situation.

As for safety on the upcoming unofficial Homecoming weekend, Squire said police are "treating both the same, they have a plan for both days."

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Rita is the managing editor of content. She was previously a news editor for two years and recently graduated with an honours specialization in political science. Contact her at content.managing@westerngazette.ca or at Twitter.com/RitaRahmati.

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