Gatineau rules out open alcohol at city parks, beaches

The City of Gatineau has crushed the idea of allowing adults to drink beer and other alcohol in municipal parks this summer. 

City had considered allowing public drinking, following other Quebec municipalities

People in Gatineau won't be able to enjoy a legal glass of wine with their beach picnic after the city decided against the idea of allowing open alcohol in city parks. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC )

The City of Gatineau has crushed the idea of allowing adults to drink beer and other alcohol in municipal parks this summer. 

The city had considered allowing open drinking in parks, following similar moves by other Quebec municipalities, so people could drink outside and enjoy themselves while keeping a safe distance away from others during the pandemic. 

But Gatineau's executive committee ruled that option out, said Coun. Renée Amyot, chair of Gatineau's health commission, on Tuesday. 

Crowded parks and a significant amount of garbage left at parc des Cèdres in the city's Aylmer neighbourhood on the weekend influenced the decision to cancel the plans, said Amyot.

Coun. Audrey Bureau, who represents Aylmer, said group gatherings and garbage has been an ongoing issue ever since the lockdown began.

"There is a lot of alcohol consumption, it creates a lot of problems," she said. 

"When we get to the point where our city crews have to clean the beach twice a day, it's because people really don't show civility," she said in a French-language interview.

Garbage could be seen strewn throughout the beach at parc des Cèdres in Gatineau Monday morning, June 22, 2020. (Isabelle Fournier/Facebook)

Bureau said the city's reopening could explain some of the misconduct, but she also believes the city may have been too lenient up until this point. 

"There really is a party culture taking hold," she said.

Gatineau police said officers didn't hand out any tickets related to the consumption of alcohol in the parks or non-compliance with public health regulations last weekend; however, it said it has not ruled out the possibility of stepping up enforcement if the situation gets worse.

With files from Radio-Canada's Laurie Trudel and Nathalie Tremblay

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