Calgarians will be able to freely consume alcoholic beverages at some public places this summer.
On May 12, the pilot project was approved by Calgary city councilors to give Calgarians the opportunities to get outside during the current pandemic time.
Under the bylaw, which will come in force on June 1, consumption of alcoholin Calgary’s city parkis allowed from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Users must reserve a designated place for alcohol consumption. They may only use this place for a maximum of two hours.
“The opportunity to get outside during a pandemic really turns this into the mental health coping strategy,” said Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 councilor who proposed for the pilot project, in an interview with Global News.
Although Cara said that he hasrecieved enthusiastic supports for this project, some citizens have concerns.
“Tying into COVID-19, it’s a little concerning,” said Karen Kimmel, owner of Sanktjuri-buks book store. “There is a lot of stuff I feel need to be flushed before this pilot project can start.”
Kimmel considersthat policing would be the biggest challenge for this project. When alcohol is involved, people aren’t always in control and things can go wrong. Will Calgary Police Service patrol every one of these locations now?
“That’s a lot of extra strain on our police force,” she said.
Kimmel thinks that “they are opening a Pandora’s box that hasn’t been planned out.” She is particularly concerned about minors hanging out and drinking in the parks.
At least one mother agrees with Kimmel.
“If I am a teenager’s mom, I won’t feel safe when I leave my kids out side,” said Hien Phung, a nail technician.
“I don’t know if there are any people support this, but I am not in,” she said.
She says that people are high-temper and emotional when they get drunk, and quarrels might be happened.
“That not only will cause disorder in public places, but will also make people around feel uncomfortable.”
Although the City said that all the COVID-19 restriction must be followed, Hien worries if people will follow the rules properly.
“They probably do not drink just by themselves, so does that mean they are gathering?” Hien said.
Some minors have concerns too.
“I personally would have voted against,” said Ethan Nasr, currently a high school student.
Nasr thinks that alcohol should only be consumed in private places. He is concerned about parents who would never want their kids to be exposed to people who might be drinking pr drunk.
Opponents of the plan are particularly concerned about safety at night, when more accidents and incidents- are likely to happen.
“It’d be a disturbance and annoyance,” said Nasr.
While acknowledgingcitizens’concerns, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is somewhat supportive of the project and curious about how it will go.
“I am interested in pilots, and I’m interested I trying things,” said Nenshi, in aninterview with Global News.
Under the bylaw, the project will officially run from June 1 to Sept. 7. It will be discontinued if there are persistent complaints about drinking in public.
Specific locations still to be determined and will be announced soon.