British Columbia

Vancouver city council moves a step closer to allowing alcohol in some public spaces

Vancouver councillors gave the green light for city staff to look at where people could legally drink alcohol and whether people should be able to bring their drinks to those public places.

Council approves a motion for staff to come up with rules for drinking al fresco

Vancouver city council has asked staff to look into a pilot project next summer to allow alcohol consumption in some public areas like civic plaza. (Wendy Harman/Flickr)

The City of Vancouver is inching closer to allowing you to legally drink alcohol in some public space such as civic plaza and it could be in place before the end of summer.

Vancouver councillors gave the green light in an 8-2 vote for city staff to look at which public spaces would be suitable for legally drinking alcohol and whether people should be able to bring their drinks to those places.

City staff is expected to bring back recommendations for a pilot project to start this summer.

The motion is separate from one by a Vancouver Park Board commissioner — withdrawn earlier this month — to allow drinking at parks and beaches which are under the board's jurisdiction. 

Beachgoers Tyler O'Hara and Maria Freire enjoy a cold beer on the sand in early June during Penticton, B.C.'s, one-month pilot project to allow alcohol consumption on some beaches. (Brady Strachan)

The city hall motion was approved after it was presented by Coun. Lisa Dominato.

Councillors Melissa De Genova and Colleen Hardwick voted against the proposal while Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung abstained.

"I also can't override the health concerns that we've seen [about alcohol]," said  Kirby-Yung.

She questioned whether allowing people to bring their own booze is wise given small businesses are struggling.  

"I haven't seen BIAs [Business Improvement Areas] line up in support of this. Nor have I heard from small businesses."

On Monday, new rules kicked in for the City of North Vancouver to allow people to drink alcohol legally in nine parks. 

In B.C.'s Okanagan, Penticton is in the midst of a one-month trial to allow alcohol consumption between noon and 8 p.m. on some waterfront beaches and parks. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that city staff were expected to recommend a pilot project for summer 2021. In fact, the pilot project is expected to be recommended for this summer.
    Jun 24, 2020 8:32 AM PT

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