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North Vancouver to allow public drinking under COVID-19, but not Vancouver

Vancouver council doesn’t pass new public drinking rules
Vancouver council doesn't pass new public drinking rules

The City of North Vancouver has voted to allow public drinking in some parks and civic plazas this summer to help restaurants and bars suffering under the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the first jurisdiction in the country outside Quebec to allow the consumption of alcohol in some public places.

Mayor Linda Buchanan said council voted in favour of the proposal Monday night.

“We looked at areas we felt were open, natural spaces that allowed alcohol consumption in a different form, like the Shipyards’ Friday night market (and) other parks that had washroom facilities close by,” she said.

“So there was a variety and making sure there was equity spread out throughout the city.”

North Vancouver to allow public drinking
North Vancouver to allow public drinking

It is a pilot program, but Buchanan said she hopes it won’t be temporary.

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She said she hopes people will be responsible, and that it’s not an opportunity for large groups of people to get together and drink.

Council also voted to create a number of parklets on Lonsdale Avenue, giving people who live in multi-family buildings another place to relax outside.

READ MORE: Vancouver councillor submits patio options to help restaurants struggling under COVID-19

Meanwhile, a similar motion failed to move forward at Vancouver city council on Tuesday night.

Councillor Pete Fry’s motion to allow drinking in some parks and beaches needed a majority to push it through, but it ended in a split vote.

“It’s a bit bittersweet,” Fry told Global News. “I’m happy for North Vancouver. The bylaw that they passed on Monday was exactly what we were directing staff to prepare for our consideration.

READ MORE: Penticton, B.C., to test out alcohol consumption at parks, beaches

“It’s frustrating to see that politics got in the way of what would have been a nice bitter reprieve for the people of Vancouver this summer.”

There’s still a chance it could happen in the city. The park board is set to discuss a motion to temporarily allow drinking in some public spaces at Monday’s meeting.

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