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Vancouver Park Board delays vote on drinking in select parks for possible expansion

Vancouver Park Board delays decision on drinking in parks
The Vancouver Park Board putts off vote to allow drinking at public beaches and parks until July 20th. Julia Foy reports.

The Vancouver Park Board wants staff to keep looking into a pilot project for drinking in select parks.

A motion to defer that was brought forward to the park board meeting Monday night by commissioner Dave Demers asks staff to come back with changes to expand and improve the pilot program.

Vancouver Park Board criticized for delaying decision on alcohol
Vancouver Park Board criticized for delaying decision on alcohol

The motion asks staff to consider including at least one park in each of the 23 distinct neighbourhoods in the city.

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Demers said it doesn’t make sense for people to be coming from across the city to the 10 original, specific locations.

Watch: Park Board to vote on allowing drinking in some Vancouver parks

“For me, I always thought that the core idea of this project was to [give people the incentive] to use their own park as their own backyard,” he said. “Yet if we ask them to move to another neighborhood that is counter-intuitive.”

Staff are also asked to consider limiting the bylaw amendment to require that liquor may only be consumed with a meal; reviewing pilot sites to ensure there is sufficient space for users to observe mandated physical distancing; and to identify a larger, more suitable location to replace the currently proposed Vanier Park.

The deferral passed unanimously.

Read more: Vancouver could green-light booze in selected parks, Monday

Commissioner Gwen Giesbrecht said it’s important to get the project done right the first time.

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“Although it might take a couple of weeks to move ahead, I think it is time well spent to see that we get it as close to being right as we can,” she said.

Staff will come back with a new report for the park board’s July 20 meeting, which will be its last for the summer.