Push underway for more walkable pubs, eateries in Calgary

An effort is being made to bring more bars and restaurants within walking distance of Calgary neighbourhoods.

Entrepreneurs face restrictive bylaws as they apply to open businesses in residential areas

An effort is underway to bring more bars and restaurants within walking distance of Calgary neighbourhoods.

The province's recently tightened impaired driving legislation has many Calgarians wanting to see more licensed establishments open up within walking distance of their homes.

"You don't have to get back in your car and go back out, you don't have to worry about well, one drink, have a glass of wine with my husband," said Laurie McBain, a Douglasdale resident.

She's one of many contacting their aldermen to ask why more bars and restaurants aren't opening up around Calgary's neighbourhoods.

Many people opt to stay home rather than risk a charge under Alberta's tough impaired driving legislation. As of last September, drivers caught with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 to .08 face losing their licences and vehicles for three days.

Ald. Gian-Carlo Carra is raising the issue at city council on Monday.

He'll be asking for a change to the bylaws or for new ones to be created, to give entreprenuers more flexibility in terms of the size of establishment they can build and how much parking they must provide.

However, what seems like an easy fix might not be quite so straightforward.

"There's concerns among developers and communities that are trying to build, on the one hand, and enjoy, on the other hand, these sort of neighbourhood urban nodes that we are talking about creating," said Carra.

Myrna Belyea, a consultant who helps developers with permits and land-use applications, agreed that the two main issues are business size and parking requirements.

"If they can be appropriately addressed, the operators will come and those of us in the more urban communities could then walk to have a nice dinner."