31 tickets issued, more garbage found during Edmonton drinking-in-parks pilot

Click to play video: 'Drinking in some Edmonton parks officially launches Friday'
Drinking in some Edmonton parks officially launches Friday
Starting Friday, some parks in Edmonton will allow visitors to drink alcohol at designated picnic sites. As Kim Smith explains, it's part of a pilot project that will run all summer that council approved earlier this month. – May 28, 2021

It’s been one month since Edmonton started a pilot program allowing public alcohol consumption in select sites in seven city parks.

A city spokesperson for the citizen services department said, overall, compliance has been good.

A big focus is educating people about which parks and picnic sites allow alcohol consumption.

Read more: Edmonton launches alcohol consumption pilot project at designated river valley parks

There are 47 picnic sites in Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Whitemud, William Hawrelak, Government House, Victoria, Gold Bar and Rundle parks where it is permitted.

People can either book a spot or walk up to one of the first come, first served sites. Alcohol consumption will be allowed from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at picnic sites marked with signage.

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“Since the start of the pilot there have been 692 warnings and 31 tickets issued for various infractions related to consumption of alcoholic beverages within city parks,” Jim Stang said in an email to Global News.

The city is focusing on public education rather than ticketing.

“We have not noticed an increase in glass bottle debris at the designated sites,” Stang added.

“The warnings and infractions have resulted from regular patrols of all city parks by park rangers.”

The city had dedicated peace officers working during the first three weekends as part of the pilot, so warning and ticket numbers may be higher than they otherwise would have been.

Read more: Pilot program will see alcohol consumption allowed in select Edmonton parks

“Each interaction is based on officer discretion,” Stang said.

Fines range from $120 to $180, depending on the offence.

The pilot program will run from May 28 to Oct. 11, 2021.

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