by Colin Smith
If you want to enjoy a drink at the Morinville Fish and Game Pond you’ll be able to do so legitimately this summer after Town Council approved a pilot initiative to allow alcohol in certain recreation areas.
Starting on Canada Day, alcohol consumption will be allowed at the Pond area as well as at the Heritage Lake picnic sites and the Skyline Baseball Diamonds within the Skyline Park area.
The Alcohol in Parks Pilot Initiative was discussed by Council at its Committee of the Whole meeting last week after a presentation by Brad Boddez, Fire Chief and Community Safety Services Manager.
It originally applied to the Heritage Lake and Skyline Baseball Diamonds site only but was extended to the Fish and Game Pond following suggestions by Councillors Scott Richardson and Stephen Dafoe.
The initiative was approved without further discussion at Tuesday’s regular Council meeting.
Residents and visitors will be able to have a drink in the three designated areas between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Signs will be put up to indicate the location of the alcohol consumption zone.
All requirements to meet provincial legislation, such as age restrictions and conduct, must still be followed.
The designated sites will be patrolled and monitored by Community peace officers will patrol and monitor the sites to ensure that the rules are being followed and the program is running smoothly.
Sergeant William Norton has told Council he does not feel the initiative will be a burden for Morinville’s Community peace officers.
“At this point, we don’t feel there is going to be a huge draw on our resources,” Norton stated, noting that peace officers would also receive the support of the local RCMP detachment if necessary.
The pilot initiative will run until September 6, after the Labour Day long weekend. Following its conclusion Administration will review it and report the results to Council.
People have been able to consume alcohol at provincial picnic sites since June 2020, under the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act. Pilot programs for alcohol consumption at designated parks and picnic sites are now being undertaken by Edmonton and Calgary.
The administration consulted with Sturgeon County Enforcement Services about the proposed program and received its support. In addition, the program was discussed with the executive of Morinville Fish & Game Association, which was also supportive.