More bylaw officers coming to Westdale and Ainslie Wood Hamilton city council passes motion to add more bylaw officers to neighbourhoods near Mac

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Following the events of Homecoming, particularly the streetwide party on Dalewood Ave. on Sept. 30, ward 1 councillor Aidan Johnson has tabled to permanently add more bylaw officers to the Westdale and Ainslie Wood area, the two neighbourhoods surrounding McMaster University. This pilot program began in Dec. 2016.

The motion passed, with only ward 3 councillor Matthew Green and ward 15 councillor Judi Partridge opposed.

Vice president (Education) Ryan Deshpande and associate vice president (Municipal Affairs) Stephanie Bertolo spoke on behalf of the McMaster Students Union, arguing that the proposal unfairly targets students who are still learning bylaws.

Councillor Green argued that over-policing of students only worsens student retainment for the city, a sentiment echoed by Deshpande.

When the initial program was proposed last year, the MSU was consulted during its planning. During the Dec. meeting, Johnson said he had contacted all of the neighbourhood groups, which is true if one follows the list on his website, which does not list the MSU as a neighbourhood group.

Deshpande maintains that the bylaw officer program wrongfully targets students instead of addressing absentee landlords in the area that contributes to property devaluation.

For those interested in learning more, contact ward 1 councillor Aidan Johnson or vice president (Education), Ryan Deshpande.

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