Community Support for Red Deer’s Downtown Entertainment District – Red Deer Advocate
The wheels are in motion for downtown patrons to enjoy booze on the Ross Street Patio, and local businesses eagerly await the details.
City Council on Monday unanimously approved a plan proposed by the Downtown Business Association (DBA) to create an entertainment district that allows drinking in public spaces outside licensed premises while listening to music or other entertainment.
Planning staff will now work out the details of an entertainment district by-law that could be back before council as early as May 24.
“I’m so impressed with the board and their decision to move things along quickly. The hope is that we can enjoy the Entertainment District this summer,” said Brandon Bouchard, DBA Chairman and Manager of Tribe Restaurant and Bar.
He said customers often asked if they could take their drinks to the Ross Street Patio when there were no outdoor restaurant tables available. For businesses, this will mean more foot traffic and sales.
“Everyone seems excited about it. Everything is so positive. I don’t see any problem.
The DBA already has its own team that takes care of the patio and other downtown areas on a daily basis, he said.
Red Deer may be the first to take advantage of provincial amendments to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act to allow the consumption of alcohol in public places outside of licensed establishments while listening to music or other entertainment.
If an entertainment district bylaw were created, the city could issue a special event permit and the rest would be regulated under the bylaw.
Bouchard said the focus is currently on the Ross Street Patio, but the regulations could also apply to festivals and sporting events in the future, which is forward-thinking and would reduce red tape for organizers. of events.
Scott Robinson, CEO of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, said anything that improves the downtown business community is a good thing. Ross Street Patio is a defined space for an entertainment district pilot project for which the pros and cons need to be identified and adjustments made.
“You don’t know what the impact will be until you try, so kudos to the DBA for bringing this idea forward, and to the City Council for considering it and taking it to the next level,” said Robinson.
Taco Loft owner Michael Ubbing said downtown is moving in the right direction with the popularity of the Ross Street Patio, which has been a huge draw during COVID. Electric scooters bring more people downtown, as does the reopening of the Ross Street Ice Cream Company.
“We started moving over 1,000 more people a week through the Ross Street Patio just with that ice cream shop,” Ubbing said.
An entertainment district also has the potential to get people out, but it’s such a new concept, he said.
“The initial idea is exciting, but if we don’t iron out the details properly, it could go either way,” Ubbing said.
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