Calgary

Should Calgarians be allowed to drink in parks? The city wants your take

Do you think Calgary should allow adults to drink liquor at designated picnic sites in city parks? City officials are considering the possibility and are now asking for feedback from the public.

Councillor pushing idea inspired by 'absolutely lovely' European beer gardens

Calgary is now taking feedback on the idea of allowing alcohol to be consumed at designated picnic sites in city parks. (CBC)

Do you think Calgary should allow adults to drink liquor at designated picnic sites in city parks?

City officials are considering the possibility and are now asking for feedback from the public.

Starting on Thursday and running until Jan. 31, Calgarians are invited to give their input online.

"If public response is positive, a pilot project could be launched this summer, allowing the city to fully assess the impacts and decide whether to allow liquor on an ongoing basis," reads a release.

"Allowed use of liquor in parks would be limited strictly to picnic sites. As per AGLC regulations, liquor can only be consumed at a signed, designated picnic site, and can only be consumed with food."

The move is in response to parks and pathways bylaw engagement sessions done last year.

Public intoxication will not be tolerated and other bylaws will remain in effect against bad behaviour and disturbing others, according to the city. 

'Absolutely lovely' beer gardens

Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra raised the possibility on social media in August 2018, saying city officials were discussing allowing European-style beer gardens in city parks.

"I've seen European-style beer gardens in parks in Europe and they are absolutely lovely," Carra told the Calgary Eyeopener Thursday. "I'm a big fan of exploring something like that, and right now we're at the start of the conversation."

Carra pointed to how improvements to Harvey Passage have encouraged people to watch river surfers at Tenth Street. He said that could be an opportunity for "entrepreneurial plays" for regulated alcohol users in the park.

City officials also considered last year the possibility of allowing cannabis to be consumed in four parks — all in Carra's Ward 9. However, those plans were kiboshed following concerns expressed by people living in the area.

Civilized, not 'drunk and disorderly'

The idea for allowing booze in parks came from those conversations, Carra said.

"I think the basic idea is we don't want to promote drunk and disorderly conduct, but we do want to be civilized people who appreciate a good glass of wine or a good glass of craft beer with a picnic with friends in the park," he said. "We're just going to start the conversation and see how Calgarians feel about that."

Carra added, if successful, the idea could lead to venture such as beer gardens.

"That would be, I think, a very cool thing."

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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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