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Pilot program to allow public alcohol consumption at select Calgary parks

Last Updated May 11, 2021 at 5:48 pm MDT

Stock image of beer. CREDIT: Anete Lusin/PEXELS

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Calgary City Council has decided to give the go-ahead to a pilot project that will allow Calgarians to drink a beer or a bottle of wine at select parks in the city.

Beginning on June 1, Calgarians will be able to book a picnic table at one of the select locations and consume alcohol at the table.

The plan will be to hopefully expand to as many as 60 parks in the city, with a focus on more localized ones so people aren’t driving to them.

WATCH: CityNews’ Cara Campbell reports on the city possibly giving the green light to a pilot project allowing public drinking in select Calgary parks.

Drinking at the tables will only be allowed between the hours of 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. and one group will only be allowed to stay at a booked table for a maximum of two hours.

The tables will also be on a first-come, first-served basis, but there will be priority give to those who book through the city’s website.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi likes the idea of pilot projects, but also thinks it’s critical to look at the impacts over the next few months.

“Make sure it is working and ultimately that it is not decreasing the use and enjoyment of the park for people who are not drinking,” he said.

Nenshi added that while this is something he voted in favour of, he will be keeping a close eye on it.

Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, who brought forward the motion, feels confident with leaving the success of the project in the hands of Calgarians.

RELATED: Drinking in Calgary parks could soon be a reality

“The reality of Calgarians is that the overwhelming majority of Calgarians are very law-abiding citizens, and they might want to do something but if it’s against the law, they won’t,” Carra said.

But, Carra echoed Nenshi in the sense that if this pilot begins to obstruct the enjoyment of parks by those who aren’t drinking, it’ll be shut down.

“If this in any way was preventing the normal enjoyment of parks by everybody, we’d have to pull the plug on it,” he said. “The parks have to be for everybody.”

The pilot is set to run until September 7 and will be subject to COVID-19 restrictions.