Posts Tagged "drinking"


Drinking in Calgary parks: what you need to know before you crack a beer

by admin

Starting June 1, Calgarians will be able to drink alcohol at designated picnic tables in select parks throughout the city as part of a new pilot project.

“The City of Calgary really hopes this will be a safe opportunity to connect with a friend or two outside during a challenging time, especially if someone doesn’t have a backyard or suitable backyard,” Laura Smith with the City of Calgary said Wednesday.

Here’s what Calgarians need to know about the pilot project:

Drinking is only allowed at 30 select picnic tables… for now

The pilot project doesn’t mean you can drink at any picnic table in any Calgary park; look for a sign like the one below to determine if you’re at one of the select few where it is allowed.

“We’re starting with about 30 tables or so and if all goes well we’ll add more in the coming weeks,” Smith said.

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For more information on which parks are included in the pilot program, visit the City of Calgary’s website for a full list.

The 30 picnic tables were chosen with care

“We looked at every single picnic table in the city of Calgary and we picked the picnic tables that were at least 30 metres away from a playground or a school,” Smith explained.

“We’ve already got our firepits out there so we wanted to make sure there was some distance from the firepits, river access points — that kind of thing — so that whittled it down to the 30 that we’ve got.”

Smith said they have another 30 picnic tables they could potentially expand to if the pilot goes well.

None of the picnic tables are available in busy regional parks… for now

The City of Calgary said the picnic tables where drinking is allowed are only located in smaller, neighbourhood parks.

“In choosing locations, we avoided regional parks and that was mostly because of COVID-19,” Smith said.

“Last year, we saw tremendous crowding at Eau Claire, Bowness, Edworthy. All of our big, major regional parks are already pretty (much) at capacity and it’s hard to distance when they’re at that capacity –- so we didn’t want to add one more element into a regional park that might make it more crowded and more difficult to distance during COVID-19.

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Read more:
Calgary city council approves alcohol consumption pilot project

“So right now, all of the parks are local, and they really are nestled into the neighbourhoods and often within walking distance.

“(We’re) really encouraging people to stay in their community rather than driving to the regional parks, which are getting a little too crowded during COVID-19.”

As the program processes and COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta are eased, Smith said there is a chance picnic tables in regional parks may be added in.

You can reserve a picnic table in advance

The picnic tables where booze is permitted are available to be booked through the City of Calgary’s virtual booking system or they can be used on a first-come, first-served basis. However, the city said priority will be given to those who booked a table and have a permit.

“If the table is reserved we will have ‘reserved’ signs out,” Smith said. “So if you get there at 12 p.m., you might see at 1 p.m. it’s going to be reserved.”

The online booking system divides the parks into four groups — one for each city quadrant.

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Reservations are available (for free) in two-hour time blocks of:

  • Noon – 2 p.m.
  • 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

The city says the online reservations must be made five days in advance.

No drinking after 9 p.m.

Alcohol can only be consumed at the specified picnic tables between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily.

Leave your booze on the table

Alcohol can’t be carried around the park. If you walk off to play frisbee or toss away some garbage, your booze has to remain on your picnic table.

When your drink is empty, throw it away or recycle it.

It’s likely there won’t be a washroom nearby

“Because these are in local neighbourhood parks, there are usually no washrooms nearby,” Smith said.

She said this is because the pilot program is for only moderate drinking.

“If I’m going to go to a picnic and have a glass of wine, I’m probably not going to be in desperate need of a washroom.”

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Drink in moderation

Public intoxication is still not permitted and the city says it will not be tolerated.

“We’re really counting on help from Calgarians to make this pilot program a success and we’re encouraging moderate and responsible drinking,” Smith said.

If someone is being distributive or is intoxicated, they may be approached by a police officer or a community peace officer, who could ask them to stop drinking.

COVID-19 restrictions still apply

People using the picnic tables are still expected to follow Alberta’s COVID-19 health restrictions, including gathering limits and physical distancing requirements.

In addition, the City of Calgary also suggests people wear masks when visiting with people outside their household and maintain good hand hygiene.

The pilot only runs until early September

The project runs until Sept. 7, at which time it will be discontinued if the city determines too many complaints were filed or it was too disruptive.

“If we find that we have excess litter — especially broken glass — around the sites, those sites will be pulled very quickly,” Smith said.

To report a complaint or provide feedback on this program you can call 311.

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The next steps for the pilot will be discussed in the fall

City administration will review the pilot project and report results back to council in November.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Drinking in parks: Decision on Vancouver’s pilot program coming Monday

by admin

The Vancouver Park Board will vote Monday on whether to introduce a pilot program that would allow drinking in some local parks as early as this month.

Park board staff have been looking into idea for several years, but have been pressured to make it a priority in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, B.C. health officials have encouraged the public to keep their small social gatherings outdoors in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

Park board staff will present their plan for a pilot program Monday night.

The proposal designates specific areas within 10 parks where adults would be permitted to consume their own liquor:

  • Fraser River
  • John Hendry (Trout Lake)
  • Harbour Green
  • Locarno Beach
  • Memorial South
  • New Brighton
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Quilchena
  • Stanley Vanderbilt

The green spaces were picked for their accessibility, amenities and location.

Staff tried to avoid selecting spots with bathing beaches, playgrounds and schools wherever possible.

If approved, drinking would be allowed in specific areas in those parks from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The project could kick off as early as mid-July and run until Thanksgiving weekend.

During the trial, the park board will collect feedback from park rangers, residents and businesses.

Staff will then present a feasibility study which will decide whether or not to allow drinking permanently.

However, the project does face some additional some red tape.

Alcohol is governed by the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

It gives municipalities and regional districts the power to make their decisions about alcohol, but the Vancouver Park Board is neither of those.

It’s now working with the provincial government to amend the act so it can move forward with its decision.

The proposal does not have an exact dollar figure for how much the program will cost, but it is expected to increase operating costs.

Additional park ranger patrols, cleaning, maintenance, signage and education will be needed to run the program.

Those costs will be taken out of the existing park board budget, which will lead to cuts in other areas.

The park board meets Monday at 6:30 p.m.   


City to consider using public space for public drinking, not just beaches and parks

by admin

Imagine sitting on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery and having a beer with the grilled cheese sandwich you just bought from a food truck.

Two Vancouver city councillors are pitching the idea to create designated public spaces for the consumption of alcohol.

“It’s not going to be possible for all restaurants to have patios,” said Pete Fry, who co-submitted the motion with follow Green councillor Michael Wiebe.

The motion calls for working with Vancouver police and city staff to ensure public safety is maintained, and amenities like garbage and washroom facilities are made available.

Fry said possible locations could also include side streets in some neighbourhoods that could be turned into plazas if they are closed to vehicle traffic, pointing to Commercial Drive as a possibility for this.

“The key point being responsible consumption,” Fry added, “so it’s not about creating wild and crazy, beer garden, yahoo kind of experiences, but allowing us to come together and have a bottle of wine and chat about what it’s been like for the last couple of months.”

The city is already limiting cars on some streets to free up room for physical distancing.

Another motion on the agenda is aimed at the long-debated issue of allowing drinking in parks and beaches.

Parks and beaches are the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Park Board, which voted in December 2018 to study the feasibility of starting a pilot program to allow alcohol in some parks, but OneCity councillor Christine Boyle says that study has been delayed.

She’s drafted a motion calling for the city to work with the board and the province to allow responsible consumption in beaches and parks as soon as possible.

“I bike around with my family and we see people picnicking in nooks of parks all over the place,” Boyle said, “what we’re seeing is people acting responsibly.”

As for ensuring that public drinking doesn’t get out of hand, Boyle pointed to existing rules that already maintain public order, such as laws against public intoxication, public disturbances, and the 10 p.m. closure of parks and beaches.

“For something we’re all kind of looking the other way on anyway, we shouldn’t be punishing people,” Boyle said.

Both motions will be heard during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which will be conducted virtually.


Plan to ban single-use plastics has First Nations with long-term drinking water advisories worried | CBC News

by admin

A plan to ban single-use plastics in Canada has First Nations with long-term drinking water advisories that rely on bottled water concerned about how they will be affected.

Single-use plastics, as defined by the United Nations Environment Programme, are disposable plastics from packaging that are often intended to only be used once. These include grocery bags, food packaging, straws, cutlery and bottles.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government intends to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021.

“My family would have less plastic waste if we didn’t rely on bottled water for fresh drinking water on reserve,” read a tweet by Courtney Skye following the announcement.

She lives in Six Nations of the Grand River in southern Ontario, where only part of the community is connected to a water line fed by a state-of-the-art UV water treatment plant.

The rest of the community, including Skye’s family, has cistern water tanks attached to their houses for water to use for washing clothes and showering. There are stations where bottles can be bought or refilled with water for drinking and cooking.

“There is a need for First Nations’ perspective on a lot of different issues,” she said. “People should be questioning and looking for it when they’re seeing these types of announcements made on things that affect the whole society.”

According to Indigenous Services Canada, there are currently 58 long-term drinking water advisories in effect on reserves, which the federal government plans to end by March 2021. Since 2015, 84 long-term advisories have been lifted.

‘A terrible thing to have no water’

June Baptiste is a councillor for Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation in B.C. which currently relies on bottled water brought into the community for clean drinking water. Any ban on single-use plastics that would affect access to bottled water would not go over well in the community, she said.

“That would be a terrible thing to have no water out there, without no water plant,” she said.

Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation has running water connected to its homes, but Baptiste said it is contaminated with heavy metals that leave the water yellow and smelling like sulfur. 

Even when the water is boiled, it remains discoloured and foul-smelling, she said.

The community is hoping to get a chlorinated water treatment plant soon, but Baptiste is unsure of the project’s timeline. If the community didn’t have access to single-use plastic water bottles, she said it would be a disaster.

“How would they get water out to us? They would definitely have to build that water plant right away.”  

Emergency water supply

Even communities with water treatment plants sometimes rely on bottled water in emergencies — like when the water treatment plant in Carry the Kettle Nakoda First Nation in Saskatchewan burned down this winter.

The Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation’s water treatment plant burned down in February. (Submitted by Jay Bouchard)

It’s estimated that it will be another six months before the water treatment plant is operational again. In the meantime, water is being trucked in from nearby communities and poured into a reservoir to feed the community’s plumbing, while bottled water is being used for drinking.

“If we don’t continue to have this water available to people, then there’s going to be a real cry for water that is going to be devastating to communities in the future,” said Tim Haywahe, a resident of the community.

Indigenous Services Canada said in an email they are committed to lifting all long-term drinking water advisories on reserve by March 2021.

“With every advisory lifted, that means one more community that no longer has to rely on bottled water,” the statement said. 

“For all initiatives to reduce plastic waste, the government of Canada’s approach will take into consideration accessibility and health and safety. Accessibility and health needs of the public will be taken into account before any targeted action on single-use plastic products is taken.”

The statement added that a ban is not the only option, as recycling rates can be “dramatically improved.”

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