Torontonians will not be allowed to drink alcohol in parks this summer as the committee cancels the motion
Toronto residents will not be able to drink a beer in the park this summer, nor in any foreseeable time.
As CBC reported, a proposal that would allow legal drinking in city parks was sent back for re-examination by the Economic and Social Development Committee, and Councilor James Pasternak called the proposal a “terrible idea” which is “inappropriate, unfeasible and gross violation of public rules. “
Coun. Josh Matlow, who does not sit on the committee, said he made the application with the intention of allowing residents to socialize outdoors, whether they have a backyard by their home or can afford a drink on the patio.
If people are not given the option of responsible drinking outside, they can choose to defy public orders and have meetings with friends inside, where the risk of spreading Covid-19 is much greater, Matlow told the committee.
“The reality is that it happens. I would prefer people to have a legal option to go outside,” he said.
He also said that “it has never been more important to get into it than now”.
Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s health officer disagreed. She said that in the midst of the third wave of the pandemic, Toronto Public Health urges people to cut back on all socializing. ” When alcohol becomes part of the picture, we know people become uninhibited and they’re less able and less likely to adhere to self-protection measures,” she said.
City officials were also dissatisfied with the idea, noting that there are 100 officers available who monitor Toronto’s 1,500 parks as well as enforcing public health guidelines as part of pandemic control.
“The math shows we don’t have enough staff to be everywhere and do all things,” said Carleton Grant, executive director of the city’s licensing and standards.
The city also has “tremendous difficulties” in keeping up with the increased use of public restrooms and littering as the pandemic is pushing people out, said Janie Romoff, park CEO.
Coun. Michael Thompson, chairman of the committee, said that while “we are not a city of “no”” this was not the right time. Toronto needs more public consultation and research.
Matlow described the committee discussion as “incredibly frustrating.” He pointed to other cities that have legalized alcohol consumption in public places, such as Montreal, London, Paris, and Sydney, Australia. “There is no proof that heaven has broken,” he said. “There is no evidence that there are chords of drinkers everywhere.”