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Drinking in the park

(Stock Image)

Call from the Province has the Town of Bonnyville discussing loosening liquor consumption bans at public parks.

Town of Bonnyville Council discussed the possibility of opening up liquor consumption at public parks within town limits at Tuesday’s regular council meeting. Mayor Gene Sobolewski explains the discussion came after they received a letter from the Alberta Government.

In the letter, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Kaycee Madu brought up the recent acts the provincial government has taken to allow for consumption at provincially owned campsites and parks. Urging municipalities, like Bonnyville, to take similar action.

“I would like to encourage you as municipal leaders to follow the government’s lead in reducing unnecessary regulations in your own municipal parks,” wrote the minister.

Mayor Sobolewski said it’s not as easy as allowing alcohol consumption. There are many factors to consider, “are we going to have [designated consumption] areas or are we going to have freedom of the park?”

“Council chose to take a higher road and reflect this over to be discussed at the policing committee,” the mayor said council wants to ensure alcohol consumption in public parks will not cause added pressure on the police.

“It’s not about red tape, it’s about being able to ensure that responsibility ensues.”

Other considerations will be whether the Town will allow alcohol in family parks or is it more for campsites.

Calgary recently postponed a pilot project to allow drinking in public parks. The City will not allow it for 2019, but is in the works to allow for 2020. The Ontario government is also looking at allow alcohol consumption at public parks.

As for the Town of Bonnyville, it is not likely residents will see alcohol consumption at parks this summer. After the topic goes to the policing committee it will be brought back to council for further discussion.