Rice Howard Way to become Edmonton’s new entertainment district

Rice Howard Way to become Edmonton’s new entertainment district

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A new entertainment district is coming to Downtown Edmonton on Rice Howard Way.

“I’m pretty excited. I think it’s going to add a lot of vitality to the downtown and really build on the successes that we’re already seeing on Rice Howard Way,” said Coun. Anne Stevenson for the O-day’min ward, which includes the new entertainment district.

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On Tuesday, Edmonton’s city council voted unanimously to pass a bylaw allowing a new entertainment district on Rice Howard Way. The proposition would permit alcohol consumption on the street, among other things.

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With the bylaw passed, the area can now be activated as an entertainment district on an ad hoc basis, but the current plan is for Saturdays during the summer.

The bylaw passed by council on Tuesday is an amendment based on an allowance from Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis (AGLC). Ordinarily, public consumption is prohibited under bylaw 14614, the public spaces bylaw, but AGLC allows public consumption in event spaces and entertainment districts.

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Rice Howard Way will be the first trial of the entertainment district under the new bylaw, but Stevenson said she’s already heard that some fellow councillors may like to see it rolled out to support entertainment districts in other wards. Stevenson said she believes first and foremost that the proposed roll-out will be an effective way of understanding the impacts.

“I think it’s a good place to start. As a former downtown resident myself, we always need to balance that vitality with the impact on people who live in the heart of our city,” said Stevenson.

The entertainment district on Rice Howard Way is set to be activated on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. from June until September, with the possibility to extend it as needed. Attendees will have the option to purchase alcohol from restaurants within the district and drink them within a permitted outdoor area.

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