British Columbia

Metro Vancouver municipalities prepare for a summer with more patios and beer in parks

In recent months, West Vancouver, Delta and New Westminster have all given the green light to alcohol in limited parks this summer, joining the District of North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam, which legalized the practice last year.

But with less of a scramble this year and more municipalities adopting bylaws that only some did in 2020

Diners eat on a patio at a resturant in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

What does Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statement that Canadians can hope for a "one-dose summer" mean for B.C. municipalities? 

Mostly, a summer that looks a lot like 2020 — but with less of a scramble, and more municipalities adopting bylaws that only some moved forward on last year. 

"There are many other municipalities in Metro Vancouver that are doing it," said West Vancouver Coun. Craig Cameron, a day after his municipality legalized drinking in Millennium Park this summer. 

In recent months, West Vancouver, Delta and New Westminster have all given the green light to alcohol in a limited number of parks this summer, joining the District of North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam, which legalized the practice last year.

In addition, the B.C. government has introduced legislation that Vancouver's Park Board says is required for it to make drinking legal in parks, 30 months after the board initially voted to study the concept. 

"I think that in most parts of Europe, for example, they would be surprised to hear the amount of concern about people having a drink in a park," said Cameron.

While many Metro Vancouver municipalities are moving to allow drinking in a limited number of parks this year, large cities not taking part include Burnaby, Surrey and Richmond. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

In New Westminster, city council has approved consumption of alcohol in seven parks:

  • Grimston Park
  • Hume Park
  • Moody Park
  • Port Royal Park
  • Queen's Park
  • Sapperton Park
  • Westminster Pier Park

Council says signage has been installed in all of the parks, indicating the boundaries and hours in which alcohol can be consumed.

"The adoption of this new bylaw is intended to encourage our residents to enjoy our outdoor spaces and socialize safely. It also creates an opportunity to support our local establishments by ordering both food and beverages." said Mayor Jonathan Coté.

More patios, too

A similar situation is playing out with expanded patios for restaurants. 

In White Rock, council voted to close one lane of traffic on Marine Drive this summer to give businesses along the busy street more room for patios.

In late May, the City of Vancouver voted to waive all annual 2021 patio permit fees for small and large patios across Vancouver.

Businesses are still required to apply for their annual patio permit. Refunds or credits will be available to all businesses who have already paid their 2021 annual patio permit fee.

Last month, Surrey council voted to waive fees for new patios that slowed their development in 2020, while the City of North Vancouver changed its bylaws to allow them to be fast-tracked by staff. 

Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said that more than 500 businesses have had their applications approved in the city this year, an increase from 2020

"I expect demand to be really strong this summer, especially if we're not going to be back to business as usual," she said. 

Kirby-Yung said the city's next step should be to make it as easy as possible to approve permits for people in the arts and culture sectors if restrictions for outdoor gatherings are eased in the coming months. 

"We know that the summer is only so long and we may not get a lot of notice … so the goal here is to be ready to go," she said.

"If we get our musicians performing in front of a few people — they're desperate for an audience, and it's going to help everybody's mental health as well as our local economy."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now