Natasha Riebe · CBC News ·
Sipping on a glass of wine or beer while visiting an Edmonton park may soon be legal if city council agrees on a pilot project pitched by administration.
The citizen services branch suggests the city sanction alcohol in select parks from May 28 to Oct. 11 this year.
The idea is based on a survey done between Feb. 22 and March 7, in which 71 per cent of the 15,550 respondents said they support alcohol consumption in park areas. The results were included in a report posted Thursday.
Seven parks in the river valley are on the list for a total of 47 proposed designated drinking areas: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Whitemud, William Hawrelak, Government House, Victoria, Gold Bar and Rundle.
Alcohol consumption would be permitted from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In January this year, council directed administration to identify sites that would be appropriate for alcohol consumption and then present the findings in a report.
Coun. Jon Dziadyk spearheaded the request, in part because alcohol in outdoor areas is allowed in many other countries and jurisdictions.
“This is about responsible alcohol consumption,” Dziadyk said. “It’s a good opportunity to set some rules and let our hair down a little bit in a controlled fashion — with rules and expectations.”
The report goes in front of council’s community and public services committee in just under two weeks.
- Wine in the park? Edmonton may follow province’s lead and relax rules for alcohol consumption
- Liquor now allowed at 14 provincial day-use picnic sites
The Alberta government has allowed drinking in 28 day-use picnic areas in provincial parks since last June, up from the 14 identified in 2019.
Municipalities must designate parks within their boundaries before people can legally drink outside.
About 85 per cent of respondents who support the pilot said drinking wine or beer completes an enjoyable food experience.
Of the 11,000 people who support the pilot, 82 per cent noted that people are already drinking in parks.
“A lot of people are breaking rules with alcohol consumption so it’s an unregulated current activity,” Dziadyk said. “So hopefully this will produce results where people are less likely to be sneaking a beer while they’re maybe watching a softball game.”
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