Edmonton

Want to pee in public? That'll be $500, please

Rowdy Edmontonians better watch out — those who fight or urinate in public may soon be slapped with $500 fines, if city officials have their way.

Rowdy Edmontonians better watch out — those whofight or urinate in public may soon beslapped with $500 fines, if city officials have their way.

The officials want to double the fines for breaking public behaviour bylaws as part of an effort to improve safety in and around bars — especially in areas such as Whyte Avenue.

The bar-lined street has seen a growing tide of out-of-control behaviour —including a near-riot in 2006 when a crowd of more than 30,000 people celebrating an Oilers hockey victorybegan breaking store windows, lighting bonfires in the street and battling police.

City councillors will be asked in Marchto increase bylaw fines for such behaviour as public fighting, urinating in public and harassment from $250 to $500.

In January, the city launched special team of bylaw officers, police and liquor inspectors to make sure there is no overcrowding or over-serving at popular nightspots.

The team has already pulled the liquor licence from one nightclub.

Mark Garrett, the city's manager of development compliance, said the city has finally put together the tools to deal with the increasing rowdiness.

"I think the end result of that will be Edmontonians will see that we are taking action not only in the bars, but around the bars," Garrett said.

"I think the bar patrons will think they are safe within those facilities and the bar owners will feel that there is a level playing field and that the regulations are being evenly and honestly enforced."

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