North Vancouver allows booze in parks, so what’s holding up B.C.'s largest city?
VANCOUVER -- Seconds after a motion that would allow the public to drink alcohol on Vancouver beaches was introduced at Monday’s park board meeting, it was dismissed by the very commissioner who put it forward.
“Think it makes total sense for me here to withdraw the motion,” said Dave Demers after raising his hand to speak during the virtual meeting.
In Vancouver, the park board has jurisdiction over parks and beaches, not the city. That’s unique in British Columbia, and the board’s legal team is concerned commissioners may not have the appropriate power to allow drinking on the land they govern. It’s seeking clarification from the provincial government.
“The request for clarity doesn’t make any sense to me because the policy and regulation is quite clear,” said former Vancouver city councillor George Affleck.
“The authority for designating liquor consumption in Vancouver parks falls to the Vancouver Board of Parks and recreation,” wrote Tim Chu on behalf of the MInistry of Attorney General.
David Eby also wrote a letter to the City of Vancouver to clarify last month.
“Section 73 of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act gives the authority to local governments to, via bylaw, designate a public place that is within their jurisdiction as a place where liquor may be consumed,“ stated the letter, which was dated May 22, 2020.
“The Vancouver Charter then gives that authority to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation under Sections 488 and 489.“
But again, park board lawyers have reservations.
“It’s mid-June now, come on, let’s get going on this,” said Affleck. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic and people want this, let them have it.”
Last week, the City of North Vancouver passed a bylaw to allow drinking in some parks and city squares.
Demers remains hopeful Vancouver’s board’s clarification needs will be satisfied.
“Fingers crossed we can bring this to fruition for the summer,” he said.