Toronto councilors set to debate drinking rules in parks again – Toronto
Toronto councilors will reconsider whether or not to lift the city’s ban on outdoor drinking at a council meeting this week.
A motion filed by the con. Josh Matlow is proposing a pilot project through the summer of 2022 that would allow people to drink in public parks and beaches in Toronto with restrooms between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
If passed, the pilot will run from May 21 to October 31, 2022.
“I just think it’s ridiculous that in today’s times Toronto – unlike most countries in the world – still prevents responsible adults from doing something like having a drink together while having a picnic,” Matlow told Global News.
Outdoor drinking is allowed in European cities like Berlin and London.
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Matlow’s motion specifies that beverages allowed in parks must be 15% ABV or less, meaning that even if the motion passes, alcohol in parks would still be prohibited.
The motion also calls for more trash cans and recycling bins to be added to city parks and beaches.
A similar motion failed to gain council support in April last year. Com. James Pasternak called the idea “terrible” at the time and city staff, including Toronto’s medical officer of health, were reluctant.
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Matlow said the success of CafeTO, the city’s sidewalk patio program, and the need to focus on fairness in enforcement should convince his board colleagues to think again.
“I think more and more Torontonians have learned through the pandemic that we need to try new things,” he said.
The adviser said concerns about encouraging bad behavior are unfounded and already covered by existing rules.
“My motion doesn’t change the rules for drunken and disorderly behavior – you’re not allowed to do that. You shouldn’t litter, you shouldn’t misbehave.
He said allowing drinking in public was a matter of ‘fairness,’ which he said would benefit tenants who don’t have access to a backyard as well as racialized Toronto residents who may suffer. over-surveillance by regulatory officers.
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“Toronto, like some other North American cities, has uneven enforcement with inequitable results,” Matlow’s motion said.
The councilor said anecdotally he’s heard concerns about uneven enforcement of the rules, but the City of Toronto doesn’t keep the data needed to demonstrate whether the anecdotes are true.
The motion will be referred to the Toronto Economic and Community Development Committee for discussion if passed. A two-thirds majority is required to waive this step.
The City of Toronto will consider the motion on Wednesday, May 11.
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