Last week, city council addressed the possibility of allowing for liquor consumption at pre-determined areas within select parks, and while no official decision had been made the idea doesn’t look like it will go forward.
The proposition came forward as a result of changes to Alberta’s Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act back in June, and would see permanent areas established where alcohol could be sold and consumed.
This is similar to the City’s current laws which allow for temporary beer gardens during festivals and events.
The announcement attracted controversy from residents, with concerns around enforcement, and the potential for public disturbances to spike as a result of drunken behaviour.
“We know that at Imperial Park there are adult slow-pitch leagues where people have a beer,” said Mayor Craig Copeland on The Morning After. “This would allow for that to happen legally, and for venues such as Emma’s on the Beach to apply for a liquor licence and expand their business.”
Copeland emphasized that should the proposition go through that it would not be legal for residents to wander through parks with alcohol in hand, and would be required to stay within the designated area.
When the issue was discussed during council’s corporate priorities meeting, many councillors were hesitant in moving forward with the proposition, echoing some sentiments online.
“I’ve seen instances of this in different communities I’ve visited and more than once I’ve thought man, this would be cool if we could bring this to Cold Lake,” said councillor Jurgen Grau. “At the same time, I think it’d be impossible to bring this to Cold Lake.”
However, in contrast with the rest of his colleagues, Bob Buckle was enthusiastic about the prospect, highlighting his previous profession as a police officer.
“We have liquor laws that already deal with drunken misconduct, but if we had to, we could write up a law that allowed these areas to operate until say 9pm, after which the normal laws would begin,” said Buckle. “I have this vision of families having a picnic on the beach, with mom and dad enjoying a nice glass of wine.
“I think we’d be the first community in Alberta to have something like this, and that passing up on that opportunity would be a mistake.”
Currently, the city’s old policy remains in place, and council is expected to revisit the issue at a later, unspecified date.