Red Deer city council will discuss next month whether to allow Red Deerians to consume alcohol in parks and other public spaces. ( Black Press file photo)

Red Deer city council will discuss next month whether to allow Red Deerians to consume alcohol in parks and other public spaces. ( Black Press file photo)

Red Deer city council to discuss permitting alcoholic beverages in parks

Will the city follow Edmonton and Calgary’s example?

Red Deer city councillors will discuss whether alcohol consumption should be allowed in parks and other public spaces at their next public meeting

On May 9, Erin Stuart, inspections and licensing manager for the City of Red Deer, will ask for some administrative direction on whether to create local “entertainment districts.”

These would allow alcohol to be consumed on public lands in the city that are outside of a licensed premises.

Alberta’s two largest cities already allow alcohol consumption in some designated park spaces. Edmonton and Calgary both opted to expand these sites this spring, following successful pilot programs in 2021.

Although Stuart hasn’t heard much public demand from Red Deerians for the right to drink beer or wine in parks, she said, “we pay attention to what’s happening in other urban municipalities.”

Since the Alberta government introduced the idea of having entertainment districts that would allow alcohol in certain public spaces, it’s timely to discuss whether the City of Red Deer wants to explore this, added Stuart.

At this time, the only alcohol allowed in local parks is when a special events permit is obtained to set up a beer tent. Stuart said entertainment districts would allow alcohol consumption in public spaces on an on-going basis.

The City of Calgary has set some rules for drinking at designated picnic tables in parks, including “drink in moderation and be a good neighbour.” Public intoxication is not tolerated and all alcoholic drinks must be consumed at designated picnic tables and not carried around the park.

In Edmonton, drinking is only permitted at sites that are part of the pilot program — some can be pre-booked for a fee and other are first come/first serve. Alcohol consumption is only permitted between 11 a.m and 9 p.m. until Oct. 10.

Red Deer City Council