Drinking in select Vancouver green spaces, beaches approved by park board
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Park Board has voted in favour of a long-awaited pilot project that will allow alcohol at designated parks and beaches.
On Monday night, after a two-hour special committee meeting, the board voted 5-2 in favour of the Liquor Consumption in Parks Pilot Program, which has identified 22 parks where people will soon be able to enjoy a cold one.
Commissioner Tricia Barker noted that the pandemic has forced many people to socialize in public outdoor spaces.
"There's so many people who want to see if this can work," she said. "We all understand that people are drinking alcohol in parks and we are in unusual circumstances."
Commissioner John Coupar added a new motion, which would allow park board-operated concessions to sell beers, ciders and coolers.
"Our revenue has drastically been reduced during this pandemic situation. We just started to get our concessions opened up; I think it's an opportunity, as businesses across the city have had more flexibility to sell alcohol to keep them afloat, I think the park board should follow along with the city's example," Coupar said.
Both Commissioners John Irwin and Stuart Mackinnon noted that they would have voted in favour of the first motion to allow booze in select parks but decided against it because of the new motion of serving alcohol at the concessions.
"I was prepared to support this motion," Mackinnon said. "One of the difficulties I have is that concessions employ many underage people -- students and what not. I'm not familiar with the regulations on whether people under 21 can even be working in a place that sells alcohol."
Despite some opposition, that motion passed 4-3, allowing concession stands to sell booze near the designated parks and beaches.
All seven commissioners opposed a motion which would allow staff to request the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council to make a regulation authorizing drinking alcohol in public parks.
The park board first directed staff to conduct a feasibility study for a pilot project in Dec. 2018, and now 19 months later, with a few revisions, the pilot has been passed.
A date for when people will be allowed to legally enjoy liquor at parks and beaches has not been set.
Below is a list of the parks identified by the board for the pilot project:
- David Lam
- Fraser River
- Harbour Green
- John Hendry (Trout Lake)
- Kitsilano Beach
- Locarno Beach
- Maple Grove
- Memorial South
- Memorial West
- New Brighton
- Queen Elizabeth