City of Edmonton allows drinking in select parks following two years of pilots


Posted February 27, 2023 1:50 pm Updated February 27, 2023 1:51 pm FILE: A picnic site at a City of Edmonton park. Global News The city of Edmonton will allow drinking at certain picnic sites in designated parks on an ongoing basis following two pilot projects. The decision was made at a community and public services committee meeting. Councillors Andrew Knack, Aaron Paquette and Mayor Amarjeet Sohi were in favour, while councillors Karen Principe and Jennifer Rice were opposed.City staff presented a report to council Monday about the results of a second year of the pilot project as well as public engagement that allowed drinking at select picnic sites at 18 parks across the city.Eighty per cent of those surveyed supported the city allowing drinking in designated sites in certain parks.Though about half of the respondents said they believed allowing drinking would lead to more disorderly behaviour, over the course of the pilot only two warnings were given to people in the pilot sites. Story continues below advertisement Ward Dene Coun. Aaron Paquette said he initially shared the concerns that many Edmontonians had about allowing drinking in parks.“A lot of concerns that were stated are concerns that actually never materialized over two years,” Paquette said.“Based on evidence and facts, I’ve changed my stance.”Respondents who were opposed to the project were more likely to be from equity-seeking groups like women, Black, Indigenous and people of colour as well as newcomers, though the majority of those groups still supported the program.Rice, who is councillor for Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi, said she didn’t support the program because the engagement didn’t show enough support from Edmontonians.“Over half of Edmontonians have a concern of culture sensitivity,” she said.“If we already have existing spaces for alcohol consumption, why do we need … to use our green spaces – family gathering spaces, people enjoying exercise, relaxing.”City staff said the number of allowed sites for drinking will most likely not be expanded as the current sites meet strict criteria and not many more sites in the city do. Story continues below advertisement 2:11 Toronto council considers drinking in parks &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Sponsored content Flyers

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