British Columbia

Legal drinking coming to (a roped-off area beside) a beach near you

Alcohol sales are on the way to two Vancouver beaches, but that doesn't mean it'll be legal to sip beer while lying on a blanket in the sand.

Cactus Club and The Boathouse restaurants to offer beer and wine at English Bay and Kitsilano beaches

The concession stand at Kitsilano Beach will be part of a pilot program to allow alcohol sales at Vancouver beaches. (Michelle Ghoussoub/CBC)

Alcohol sales are on the way to two Vancouver beaches, but that doesn't mean it'll be legal to sip beer while lying on a blanket in the sand.

On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board voted in favour of a two-year pilot project that will add beer and wine to the menu at concession stands at English Bay and Kitsilano beaches next year.

The new drink choices will only be available in designated areas next to existing concession stands. Anyone caught consuming alcohol outside of those areas still risks a $230 fine.

The pilot comes in response to a survey last year, which found that 79 per cent of respondents agreed with the sale of alcohol at park concessions, according to a report from park board staff.

The two locations for the pilot were chosen because concessions at both beaches are run by chain restaurants, which have experience abiding by liquor licensing rules, the report says. The pilot will help staff decide if it's feasible to sell alcohol at other concessions within the next three to five years.

At English Bay, where the Cactus Club operates the concession stand, the park board suggested a small section of beach next to the public walkway could be sectioned off, and booze, food and non-alcoholic drinks would be served inside.

Kitsilano's drinking area would be located on a small, temporary patio on the hard surface beside the concession, operated by The Boathouse restaurant.

The pilot is part of a larger strategy approved Monday for Vancouver's park concession stands.

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