The Vancouver Park Board is calling on Mayor Gregor Robertson to push the upcoming 4/20 pot rally away from Sunset Beach, citing health and safety concerns.  

Board chair Sarah Kirby-Yung issued a public letter to Robertson Monday urging him to ensure the pro-marijuana protest, held every year on April 20, doesn’t take place at the popular West End beach.

“I think it is important to clearly inform you of the position of the Vancouver Park Board, which has serious concerns regarding this illegal, unsanctioned, and unpermitted event,” Kirby-Yung wrote.

“We respectfully request that you direct City staff immediately to work with organizers to identify an alternate location.”

Kirby-Yung said the primary concern is that attendees will break the bylaw banning smoking at any Vancouver beaches or parks.

She also raised concerns about the 60-odd attendees who were admitted to hospital last year, largely because of over-indulging on edible pot products.

The annual event has been held outside the Vancouver Art Gallery for years, but organizers revealed last week that they’ve chosen to relocate to Sunset because it has more space – a decision they said was made following meetings with city staff.

Kirby-Yung said she has “grave concerns” that those interactions took place without staff first consulting the park board.

“Given that we are now nine weeks from the event, we believe that an alternate location needs to be identified quickly, and that steps and protocols need to be in place” she wrote.

If the event isn’t moved away from the beach, the board said it wants to see a heavy police presence, including on the water, and for smoking to be restricted to a limited area with receptacles where attendees can dispose of butts.

For its part, the board said it will be providing onsite life guards in an effort to keep people out of the water.

Any costs relating to garbage collection and damage to park or beach property should be paid for by the city, the park board added.