British Columbia

Chilliwack hops on bandwagon to allow public drinking in some parks during pandemic

Chilliwack is set to launch a pilot project to test public drinking in parks pilot later this month. A bylaw on Aug. 18 which will allow adults to drink alcohol in designated areas of Vedder and Crossing parks.

Fraser Valley city will set out designated areas in Vedder and Crossing parks

The City of Chilliwack has designated areas in two parks where adults will be allowed to drink alcohol from noon to 9 p.m. starting later this month and running until Oct. 31. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Chilliwack will soon join other B.C. cities in allowing people to drink alcohol in public parks on a temporary basis.

After initial approval earlier this week, Chilliwack city council is expected to adopt a bylaw at its Aug. 18 meeting to let adults have a drink in designated areas of Vedder and Crossing parks this summer and the fall.

The project will run until Oct. 31 and people will be able to bring their own booze from noon until 9 p.m.

The city says the pilot project is "to help support the local economy while complying with all provincial health orders." Other cities have done the same to help residents socialize with friends outside their homes while maintaining a physical distance. 

Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove said the idea was suggested by people in the community and he decided to move ahead with it.

"I just think it's a good fit. Have a glass of rosé on a sunny day. I think it's a wonderful idea, we're just going to see how it works out."

The city of Chilliwack will fence areas where people will be allowed to drink alcohol in two public parks. (City of Chilliwack)

Maps of the locations have been posted online and will be marked off by fencing and signs which set out rules.

More picnic tables and garbage containers are going to be added to the areas and temporary washrooms will be installed to Crossing Park during the pilot project.

"I think if people are respectable and responsible ... I think this project will work," said Popove.

The city says staff will monitor the areas as part of their regular patrols.

Popove said the city collected feedback on the proposal and will be taking in comments from the public via a website survey.

"My communications team has told me that there is about a 50-50 split. We have had our communications team out there taking surveys, talking to people ... and the people there are really receptive. We'll see how it goes and we'll take it from there."

The cities of North Vancouver and Penticton have launched similar pilot projects, while drinking at four public plazas in Vancouver is set to begin on Aug. 10.

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