Vancouver park board delays public drinking vote to late July
Published Tuesday, July 7, 2020 6:17AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, July 7, 2020 10:24AM PDT
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Park board deferred its vote Monday night on a contentious pilot project that if passed, will allow open drinking at select city parks.
Park board commissioners discussed the proposal for close to three hours before deciding to reschedule the vote for a July 20 meeting.
Originally, park board staff designated specific areas within 10 parks where adults would be permitted to consume their own liquor if the project went ahead.
Those included in the initial list were Fraser River, John Hendry, Harbour Green, Locarno Beach, Memorial South, New Brighton, Queen Elizabeth, Quilchena and Stanley Park.
But a suggestion to make changes to the proposed pilot project was brought up by commissioner Dave Demers and agreed to by other commissioners.
"The recommendation that came to us tonight was a recommendation I personally did not find ambitious enough," Demers told CTV News.
One of the proposed changes was to expand the pilot from 10 parks to 23, which would be just under 10 per cent of the city's parks.
"I think it's a little equitably spaced out throughout the city," said Camil Dumont, chair of the park board, on CTV Morning Live Tuesday.
"The idea is to discourage folks from driving across town to have a drink. We want folks to just be able to have a glass of wine with their picnics, ideally in their own neighbourhood."
Staff at the park board will now have two weeks to make changes to the plan that will also include a discussion surrounding the possibility of requiring meals to be had with drinks.
Dumont says he hopes the changes to the proposal will "make the entire thing a little more successful."
If approved, the pilot project's roll out would be pending on the provincial government approval under the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act.
"We need the provincial government to help us with the licensing and permitting," Dumont said.
In B.C., regional districts and municipalities can make their own decisions about allowing liquor consumption in public spaces. But as the Vancouver Park Board isn't a city or district, it needs support from the province.
That means, for cities like North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam, which both recently launched their own pilot program allowing drinking in select parks, the process was more straight forward.
"Technically I think it's quite a bit easier as far as dealing with the logistics of how to do it," Dumont said. "I think all municipalities are figuring that out as we go."