British Columbia

4/20 at Sunset Beach not 'great safety recipe', says Vancouver Park Board

Vancouver Park Board chair Sarah Kirby-Yung says numerous safety, cost and bylaw concerns make Sunset Beach an unsuitable location for the annual April 20 smoke-in.

Tens of thousands expected to attend annual April 20 smoke-in to protest pot laws and celebrate marijuana

Some 25,000 people attended 4/20 when it took place outside Vancouver Art Gallery last year. Now organizers have set their sights on Sunset Beach, much to the Vancouver Park Board's chagrin. (Al Stewart/CBC)

The Vancouver Park board is raising concerns over the upcoming 4/20 pot smoking event set to light up Sunset Beach.

Last year, the annual April 20 smoke-in saw 25,000 people gather outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to protest marijuana laws, celebrate pot culture, and, of course, light up a joint.

But event organizers say they need more space and have their sights set on Sunset Beach, which isn't sitting well with park board chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

"A lot of people, in a space, imbibing marijuana, does not necessarily make for a great safety recipe,"  she told On The Coast guest host Michelle Eliot.

"You would need lifeguards and additional safety measures that you would not have had when it was at the Vancouver Art Gallery, for example."

In a letter to Mayor Gregor Robertson, Kirby-Yung wrote she had a number of "public safety, bylaw enforcement, health, park protection, access, location adjacency, and cost concerns," including the proximity of the event to the ocean.

She further noted that smoking is not allowed in any Vancouver parks or on any Vancouver beaches, and therefore the park board would never sanction the event.

Despite this, Kirby-Yung said the park board will be putting extra safety precautions in place for 4/20, which has gone ahead without permission for decades.

She and the board ultimately want the mayor to find an alternate location.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Speaking bluntly, Park Board wants mayor to find alternate 4/20 location


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