These 4 Vancouver plazas are being recommended for this year's public drinking pilot
The pop-up plaza at Fraser Street at 27th Avenue. (City of Vancouver/Twitter)
VANCOUVER -- Update: The plazas at Robson, Fraser and Cambie streets were approved by council on May 18, 2021. They're expected to permit drinking on May 31.
A public-drinking pilot may soon return to Vancouver for the late spring and summer months as city staff will give its feedback on the program to council next week.
The topic is part of Tuesday's city council agenda, and staff are expected to share feedback from the first year of the program, which ran last summer.
The pilot is specifically focused on four plaza areas where liquor can be consumed starting as early as this month and running to mid-October. Last year, those locations were north of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the plaza at Hornby and Hastings streets, the plaza at Bute and Robson streets and the temporary plaza at Cambie and 17th Avenue.
This year, only the Cambie Street plaza remains on the recommended list. Instead, three new sites are being proposed:
- 800 Robson St.: Between Howe and Hornby streets.
- Fraser Street at 27th Avenue: East block of 27th, at Fraser.
- Maple Street at 4th Avenue: South block of Maple Street. Plaza expected to be constructed in early June.
Reflecting on the first year of the program, city staff said it had "demonstrated that consumption of alcohol in designated public spaces can be done respectfully and responsibly."
"Monitoring of the 2020 pilot did not find any safety, health, or nuisance issues, but staff will continue to prepare for mitigation of risks and concerns identified by partners last year in advance of pilot implementation," the staff report to council says.
Beyond drinking in plazas – which is proposed and approved by council – Vancouver's park board appears to be closer than ever to allowing liquor consumption in some green spaces.
Last year, the park board voted in favour of allowing drinking in 22 parks across the city, but it also needed approval from the B.C. government. Late last month, the B.C. government introduced a bill that would allow the park board to choose where booze can be consumed legally. Once that happens, the park board would need to approve the project with a final vote.
Both Port Coquitlam and North Vancouver tested pilots last year allowing drinking in some parks. Both cities have since allowed it permanently. New Westminster's council also approved a motion to allow drinking in select green spaces. That bylaw is expected to go into effect on Monday.