The City of Calgary is looking for public input on any concerns communities are dealing with when it comes to major outdoor events in their neighbourhoods.
Every day for 10 days people party at the Calgary Stampede and in the surrounding neighbourhoods. However, what is a great time for the carousing crowd isn’t always so much fun for people who live in the area.
“For 10 days they are being bombarded with music until the wee hours of the morning and loud noise,” said Peter Oliver, president of the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association. “Basically, their homes and their communities turned into a free-for-all. It’s like a party and puke zone for the benefit of some bar owners.”
Oliver said the organization was inundated this year with emails from residents who were fed up with the commotion coming from the beer tents.
“We heard first-hand that residents are really being ignored and suffering under the current bylaws that allow for this free-for-all to happen with bars,” Oliver said.
In May, several city councillors, including Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong and Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott, sponsored a notice of motion to address those kinds of concerns.
The city now wants to hear from people who live in communities where major outdoor gatherings take place — and from all Calgarians who attend the events.
“It’s not so much what happens during the daytime hours — people accept that. It’s the after 10 o’clock at night,” said Wong.
“We want to make sure Calgary is a destination and that it’s a great place to visit. That it’s vibrant.
“Having said that, we also have to balance the cost of doing that and the safety and security of the people enjoying it as well as people living around the area.”
One neighbourhood that’s seen an improvement is the southeast area of Ramsay where residents have long raised concerns about traffic, noise, public urination and garbage on Scotsman’s Hill.
The city now has port-a-potties set up during busy times along with more garbage containers. The community association hopes the consultation will result in more consistent help and enforcement for neighbourhoods.
“We’re hoping it’s those kind of details that will get picked up in the future policy plan as well to ensure that it’s practiced every year as opposed to us having to request it,” said Erin Joslin with the Ramsay Community Association.
Oliver points to the Calgary Folk Music Festival as a well-regulated event monitored by the city in a designated space. He’s hoping the city can help make the stampede beer tent experience more like that.
“It really shows that in this sort of policy vacuum, you’ve allowed for conditions that are detrimental to the community and, I think, counter to the goals of the city to encourage more people to live downtown,” Oliver said.
“We hope that this is a clear signal to the city that it’s time to properly regulate these temporary beer tents and the way they are operated and where they can be operated.”
The city is taking feedback online. A report is expected at city council in September 2022.