It’s been one month since the launch of Edmonton’s pilot program that allowed public alcohol consumption in 47 areas across seven city parks, and overall, compliance "has been good."
"We always knew that some people would try to take advantage of the Pilot Project, and that is why it is important to enforce the rules," said Ward 3 Councillor Jon Dziadyk. "There are clearly demarcated areas where responsible alcohol consumption is permitted, and it is prohibited elsewhere." Dziadyk asked city hall to survey the public on allowing public alcohol consumption. 71 percent of respondents voted in support to ensure a better picnic experience.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Whitemud, William Hawrelak, Government House, Victoria, Gold Bar and Rundle parks have permitted the pilot project that runs from May 28 to October 11.
Patrons have the option to book a spot or use one of the first-come, first-serve sites marked with signage from 11 am to 9 pm daily at picnic sites. Since the start of the pilot, local authorities have issued 692 warnings and 31 tickets for violations pertaining to public alcohol consumption, reported Global News. Typically, fines ranged from $120 to $180.
"If Edmontonians do not comply with the rules, it is possible that this program will be suspended next year, despite its popularity," said Dziadyk. "Conversely, if we show that we can responsibly handle this freedom, perhaps the permitted areas could be expanded beyond picnic sites, in future years."
Edmonton committed to educating patrons than ticketing but recognized that higher ticketing and warnings were expected in the initial period, They dedicated additional peace officers to patrol designated park sites, and did not notice more litter than usual at the designated sites.
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