British Columbia

How about a beer at the beach?

Visitors to some Vancouver beaches this weekend might be asked if they would like a beer as they relax by the sea.

Question is part of a larger survey the park board is conducting as it looks at revamping concessions

People heading to Kits Beach may one day be able to buy a beer. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Visitors to some Vancouver beaches this weekend might be asked if they would like a beer as they relax by the sea.

But nobody will be getting a cold brewski just yet.

The question is just one part of a larger survey the park board is conducting as it looks to revamp its 13 beach concession stands.

"With the exception of the Spanish Banks East concession, facilities have not seen major upgrades in many years. Some are beginning to show signs of aging and are in need of investment to improve their condition and design," notes the city website.

"If provided in a responsible manner, do you agree or disagree with the sale of alcoholic beverages at Vancouver Beach Parks concessions?" asks the online survey.

People will also be able to offer their feedback in person over the May long weekend at several concessions, including at Second Beach, Third Beach, Kitsilano Beach and Spanish Banks East, at Stanley Park's information booth and Lumberman's Arch.

Food choices also surveyed

While the question of alcohol might get the most public attention, Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung says the real focus of the survey was food and the aging buildings — not booze.

She says the alcohol question was not part of her original motion last fall and the issue of serving has not been discussed by the board.

Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung says the idea of serving alcohol at beach concession stands was not part of her original motion. (Sarah Kirby-Yung)

"It was not the spirit of the original motion," said Kirby-Yung.

In fact most of the questions in the survey are about what kinds of foods people would like served at beachside concessions and what level of service they prefer — from fine dining to take-out.

When asked why the question would have been in the survey if the board had not discussed the idea, Kirby-Yung said it was likely staff saw it as an "great opportunity to gather feedback."

The park board's survey follows a similar review by the City of Vancouver of its liquor policies.

B.C.'s Liquor Control Act prohibits the consumption of liquor in public places without a licence, but the act also allows municipalities to designate public beaches, parks and campgrounds as areas where liquor may be consumed.

Based on the survey results, a new concession stand strategy is expected to go to the board for approval on June 27.

Kirby-Yung says if the survey results show support for serving alcohol on city beaches, the board would have to discuss the matter.

In the meantime, it's important for people to participate in the survey and make their views known, she said.

"We want to make sure we deliver what Vancouverites want."

Twelve of the 13 concession stands at the beaches and parks are run by private operators.

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