Pokémon Go is an unexpected gaming phenomenon that has taken Edmonton, and the world, by storm this summer. It’s a game where virtual reality meets the real world, and gamers can go to designated landmarks to catch creatures within the game, trade creatures and have virtual battles with others.
With the sudden and unexpected influx of Pokemon Go players into our community, Griesbach Community League has been working proactively behind the scenes to ensure the legitimate safety and privacy concerns of residents are being addressed – while striking a balance that respects those who are enjoying the game – and our amazing public park.
Here is what we have to share…
- Edmonton Police Services and Peace Officers are both increasing patrols along Gault Blvd., Griesbach Parade and other high traffic areas. We have been told that marked and unmarked EPS vehicles will be ticketing distracted drivers and helping to keep our streets safe for our children and pedestrians. An increased presence will also help to address concerns of drug and alcohol use (which fortunately seem to be fairly isolated).
- After some initial confusion, it has been made clear to EPS and Peace Officers that Patricia Park is indeed a City Park, governed by the City of Edmonton’s Parkland Bylaw. As a park, it is closed to the public between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am (don’t worry, you shouldn’t be ticketed for walking your dog at midnight). Police have been directed to disperse crowds between those hours. Violators are subject to fines. We hope this will address noise complaints. (A copy of the Parkland Bylaw has been posted on our website).
- Another concern that was brought to our attention is the issue of public urination. To address this, Griesbach Community League has placed a porta potty near Patricia Plaza for those using the park. It is located beside the big tree above and to the south of the park, along Griesbach Parade.
- Griesbach Community League made a formal request with the City of Edmonton to increase the frequency of garbage pickups at Patricia Park and around the lake. The Parks Department is looking into bringing more temporary garbage cans into the area as well. Additionally, we are looking into getting discreet ashtrays for the plaza area.
- We asked the City what can be done to address the concerns of residents along Gault Blvd. who are having difficulty finding parking on the street. We were informed that all streets are designated for public parking unless otherwise marked – and residents do not receive priority. However, residents are encouraged to call 311 if parking availability is becoming an issue. If they receive a sufficient number of complaints over a prolonged period, the City has the ability to rezone the parking as permit parking or to restrict parking entirely. Unfortunately, this may take time and will not address the immediate parking crunch in our community. We appreciate your frustration and ask for your patience.
- There have been reports of visitors trampling the lawns and even flower beds of residents. We hope these are isolated incidents and that increased police presence will help. The Pokémon Go community has been very engaged and are working to encourage players to respect residents and private property.
These are the steps we have taken as a community league to address your concerns, but as a resident you have a role to play as well.
Police and peace officers can’t be in our community 24/7. So if you see any incidents where people are violating bylaws or laws, we strongly encourage you to call 311 or the EPS non-emergency line (780) 423-4567 or #377 (cellular). The more calls they get, the more likely they will respond.
We’re all in this together.
As residents ourselves, we understand the frustrations of those most directly affected and are doing our best to address your concerns.
A large number of residents and their children are actually playing the game, and have had many positive things to report about the way the game is getting kids out of their basements to walk and enjoy the fresh air – and to explore the many monuments in our community. The game is surprisingly social, and encourages interaction between players. In fact, many gamers have been happily showing curious residents how the game works.
We’re pleased to report that the vast majority of visitors have been extremely courteous and respectful of our community.
Unfortunately, it just takes a few to spoil the fun. The Pokémon Go Community has been very active in working with the community to encourage players to be courteous and have even organized litter cleanups. Hats off to all of the residents who are going out of their way to tidy up garbage (something that has been happening for years!)
Ultimately, Griesbach Community League is committed to striking a balance of supporting the respectful public use of our community, while addressing the concerns of residents.
One of the reasons we have become such a hotspot for the game in Edmonton has to do with the abundance of parkland, the amphitheatre and historical landmarks that make Griesbach unique. That’s something to be proud of.
Since Patricia Park is considered a public park, we are actually not in a position to prevent non-residents from visiting – provided they are acting in accordance with the Parkland bylaw. The City does not consider Pokémon Go to be a private, intentional gathering (such as a wedding or event), so users do not require a permit to enjoy the park.
We anticipate the excitement around Pokémon Go will soon wain, and our community will return to normal. Next year if the fad continues, perhaps we will request that it be another community’s turn.
You have our assurance that we will continue to monitor the situation. If problems persist we can explore other available options to limit activity in our neighbourhood.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. Griesbach’s friendly, welcoming nature has been one of the traits that truly sets us apart and makes this such a desirable community in which to reside. Let’s show the rest of the City why we are the best place to live in Edmonton.