City council supports harm reduction efforts for Queen’s Homecoming

October 6, 2023

Story by Christena Lawrie, CFRC Broadcast Journalist, for the Local Journalism Initiative.

The City of Kingston aims to support harm reduction measures for Queen’s Homecoming in part by facilitating the extended operation of food trucks throughout the event.

With Queen’s Homecoming approaching in late October, the City of Kingston has been strategizing and collaborating with campus organizations to ensure smooth sailing. At city council this week, Coun. Glenn brought forth a motion which would facilitate the extended operation and flexible supervision of food trucks during Homecoming to augment the harm reduction strategies being put into place by the Queen’s University Alma Mater Society (AMS). This idea comes from a conversation councilors had with Queen’s AMS leaders earlier this fall regarding harm reduction during Fall 2023 events.

Coun. Glenn explained how this measure can impact safety.

"I had opportunity to meet with the AMS, and as most of you are aware, they've been engaging in harm reduction strategies. One of the ones that they implemented in previous events was to have food trucks available so that anyone who was out at events had the opportunity to get food, non-alcoholic beverages, and hopefully reduce the impact," she stated, "hopefully if we do a bit more of this in terms of a strategy around homecoming, that we'll see fewer people also hitting our emergency room. We often see people who are highly intoxicated ending up at the emergency room during homecoming, people who have been injured because they have over-imbibed, and this hopefully is a measure that will prevent some of that."

The motion presented was to waive the restrictions on refreshment vehicles which prohibit them from being open between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. for businesses participating in AMS events at locations approved by the City. This would mean extending the business hours for food trucks to 2 a.m., focusing on Homecoming weekend and the days surrounding the event. 

With how this motion could have an impact Queen’s Homecoming, councilors were eager to consider the motion from all angles, including the impact on surrounding neighborhoods, optics for the city, and safety for students.

With the amendment of restricting the location of these exempt food trucks to Queen’s campus, the motion passed with a vote of 11 to 2.

Coun. Tozzo stated, "We're really giving a lot of checks to prevent anything from getting out of control, and this is an experiment that we're doing for this year."