Outdoor alcohol on Argyle and Grafton

Staff report floats easier rules for public drinking during special events.


Revellers enjoy Argyle Street's new foundations last November. - VIA DOWNTOWN HALIFAX BUSINESS COMMISSION

Soon you might not need a patio to party downtown.

A staff report headed to city council this week wants to make it easier for outdoor events to allow public drinking on Argyle and Grafton.

The proposed amendment to the Municipal Alcohol Policy would create a new category of “HRM Streets Where Alcohol is Permitted When a Temporary Street Closure has been Approved.”

Currently, booze can only be consumed on municipally-owned properties through either permanent or special one-time event licenses.

One such license was granted last year to the Downtown Halifax Business Commission for a public celebration of the completed Argyle's streetscape project.

According to HRM Corporate Affairs coordinator Paul Johnston, the pedestrian-friendly redevelopment of Argyle (between Duke and Blowers) and Grafton (between Carmichael and Prince) creates a “unique opportunity” for future event venues.

“Moreover, the direct proximity of these spaces to the new Halifax Convention Centre increases the potential and desirability of this area, in the heart of downtown Halifax’s entertainment district, being used to host events and gatherings.”

The business commission has already received several requests from event organizers about using the newly refurbished public streets in coming months and “temporary street closures are being planned for many, and possibly all, weekends during the summer.”

Simplifying the administrative approval for serving alcohol during those streets closures will save council and event organizers a lot of time.

Any street closure will still need to obtain a Special Occasion License from Alcohol and Gaming and follow all other municipal special event policies around security and public safety measures before the party starts.

Council will discuss the idea Tuesday at City Hall.

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