Vancouver residents and visitors could be allowed to legally drink their own alcohol in parts of Stanley Park and at nine other parks by mid-July, according to a report that goes before park board commissioners Monday.
But for legal drinking to happen, commissioners will have to first approve the three-month trial at the 10 sites, which include sections of Vanier Park, Queen Elizabeth Park and John Hendry Park.
“I am going to vote for it, and I’m going to try to hopefully improve on what’s being proposed,” said Comm. Dave Demers Thursday, but didn’t want to elaborate on possible changes until Monday’s meeting.
If approved, then it’s up to the provincial government to amend the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Act, which currently doesn’t include the park board as an authority to create a bylaw for legal liquor consumption.
The staff report indicates the provincial government informed the park board that the intent of the Act was to allow the board the same authority as a local government to create a bylaw.
Attorney General David Eby’s office said in an email to Glacier Media Thursday that staff at the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch continues to review the park board’s request for an amendment.
With the understanding that provincial legislation will soon be updated, park board staff drafted a proposed bylaw and selected sites for the trial. None of the sites call for liquor consumption across an entire park, or allow drinking on a beach.
“Heat, alcohol and water is usually not a good mix, so we’re being conservative here, and going step by step, and not opening that door just yet [at beaches],” Demers said.
Overhead maps attached to the staff report show sections of parks designated for legal drinking, including a large swath of more than 23,000 sq. metres of green space in Stanley Park near the tennis courts.
Parts of Fraser River Park, along with Harbour Green Park, Memorial South Park, New Brighton Park, Quilchena Park and Locarno Beach Park round out the 10 proposed locations.