Vancouver officials crack down on ‘Beer Island’
Ian Holliday, CTV Vancouver
Published Thursday, July 10, 2014 5:30PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 10, 2014 8:10PM PDT
The official name of the small landmass built in False Creek for the 2010 Olympics is Habitat Island. As the name suggests, it’s intended to provide an urban refuge for pedestrians and British Columbia wildlife alike.
But lately the island has earned a new -- and similarly descriptive -- nickname: Beer Island.
Evidence of the island’s reputation as a place for summer parties is easy to spot. Empty beer cans, bottle caps, cardboard boxes and a bag from a local liquor store could all be seen among the trash strewn about the island when CTV News paid a visit on Thursday.
The Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver Park Board say they’re aware of the partying that happens on the island, and they’re taking steps to make it less disruptive to the neighbourhood and less detrimental to the island’s natural beauty.
“What we don’t want to do is discourage people from having a nice beautiful space to go and enjoy,” park board commissioner Constance Barnes told CTV News. “If you’re going down and having a beer and you’re having a picnic or you’re playing your guitar, I don’t see that the park board would really come down on you for that.”
What the park board will “come down on” people for is being “aggressive” or disrespectful toward other people who want to use the space. That includes littering or being too loud.
Barnes encouraged neighbours of the park to call 311 or the police with any complaints about activities on the island.
“If they call, we will be down there very quickly,” she said. “I’m sure there will be tickets put out.”
Vancouver police told CTV News they plan to patrol Habitat Island more frequently to discourage the “Beer Island” crowd.
Public consumption of alcohol is illegal and can result in a $230 fine. People leaving empty beer cans on Habitat Island would face $2,000 fines for littering if caught.