drinking bellwoods park toronto

Will booze crackdown kill the buzz in Bellwoods?

Trinity Bellwoods Park is a pretty good place to party. Copious amounts of beer are consumed there during the sweltering heat waves, and groups meet up, hang out, and mingle. It's like a regular old Cheers under the open city skies. And there's not even any litter, because friendly elderly people wander around from group to group collecting empties.

But the gloriousness that is Bellwoods may be about to change, at least to a certain degree. Residents in the area have been making complaints about the apparent wildness going down in the park, so now you can expect more cops on the prowl, prosecuting fun-havers everywhere and making it rain $125 fines.

The crappy crackdown is part of "Project Green Glasses," which is an incredibly nice euphemism, and the name for an initiative police are taking to enforce public drinking laws in a number of public parks (Bellevue Square Park in Kensington is also on the party chopping block).

"We want the regular folks of the neighbourhood to be able to use these parks," Sgt. Ralph Brookes of 14 Division told the Star. "Making the park a favourite destination for children and families is a huge issue. There are summer camp programs in the park. There's a wading pool in there." He said complaints about revelers have been "pouring in" since May.

So, what gives? Young people who want to enjoy a beer in what amounts to their back yard are no longer "regular folks"? People should be ticketed for displays of public drunkenness that put others in danger, that destroy the environment, or that truly disrupt the neighbourhood with excessive noise. But it's individuals who should be punished for making these screwups, not the group as a whole. Let's not be heavy handed here and kill off one of the most vibrant parts of the neighbourhood.

Photo courtesy of suesthegrl via Flickr.


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