March 4, 2019 10:17 pm
Updated: March 5, 2019 3:57 pm

Where to hold Vancouver’s annual 4/20 event in the future?

Vancouver's 4/20 event is less than two months away and the Park Board is hoping this will be the last year the pot festival takes over Sunset Beach. John Hua reports.

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The annual debate about where to hold Vancouver’s annual 4/20 bash is well underway.

Vancouver Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung is tabling a motion Tuesday to support the Vancouver Park Board’s request for help finding an alternate venue for 2020.

“It smells, it’s noisy and it locks up traffic. Residents in the West End want it moved from Sunset Beach,” according to Kirby-Yung’s motion.

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READ MORE: Activists vow to keep 4/20 smoke up at Sunset Beach, despite new provincial rules

Kirby-Yung said the time for protest has passed.

“We’re not being prescriptive. I think we are very conscious of the impact on residential areas, so we are trying to keep an open discussion,” said Kirby-Yung.

“The fact is that it’s time for their event to evolve, it doesn’t need to be moving forward what it was in the past. And I know people try to liken it to the Pride event or the Celebration of Light [fireworks] but it’s not. This is one that has a negative impact on neighborhoods.”

Kirby-Yung added there’s no need for hundreds of vendors to sell pot since it’s now legal and many vendors will be selling edibles which is still illegal.

“There are hundreds of booths selling products, it will be interesting to get more direction from the province on what their enforcement direction and capabilities look like and that will be part of the conversation.”

Public Safety Minister Farnworth said the province has not heard of a potential location this year.

“My understanding is the group behind it is trying to work with the City of Vancouver. My expectation would be that they would abide by the national laws that are now in place across this country as well as provincial laws and that would be what I would expect in this particular point in time,” said Farnworth.

One possible alternate venue that had been proposed is the PNE lands in East Vancouver…

… However, the PNE Board passed motion on 4/20 Monday evening that effectively rules out that option (see tweet below):

A report to the PNE’s Board of Directors had cited several reasons why the event should not and could not be held on the family-friendly fairgrounds.

READ MORE: Sunset Beach Park to be closed up to 10 weeks to repair damage following Vancouver 4/20 event

PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance said the desire to relocate this protest is to mitigate the impact to the West End.

“The community of Hastings-Sunrise needs to be given an opportunity to have their voice heard,” said Ballance.

Part of the report noted the neighborhood of Hastings Sunrise does not want the same issues faced by West End residents.

A significant number of 4/20’s exhibitors are not legal pot vendors, and that would make it impossible to secure insurance, a requirement for all events held at the PNE.

Organizers have never asked permission as to where they can hold the smoke-up.

 

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