Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver mayors give drinking in parks a gold star

The pilot will begin on Aug. 10, and run until Oct. 12. At three of the locations, drinking will be allowed between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

It’s been about a month since Port Coquitlam started allowing drinking in some of the city’s parks.

Mayor Brad West says it’s been a breeze.

“Very positive feedback from the community,” West said.

“The sort of doomsday scenarios that some people were concerned about of booze-fuelled anarchy in the parks has not come to pass.”

And North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan, feels the same way.

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

“It’s going overwhelmingly well. I’m gonna treat my residents like adults, and when you do that, they rise to the occasion.”

Both city’s councils passed their respective pilot projects in June, to allow better social distancing during COVID-19 and to support local businesses.

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West says over the past month, bylaw officers have only dealt with one noise complaint related to drinking in Poco’s parks.

Buchanan, says the City of North Vancouver hasn’t had a single issue.

“People are following the rules, they’re really well behaved,” said Buchanan. “They’re picking up their garbage, they’re taking their recyclables.”

Click to play video: 'Park Board to vote on allowing drinking in some Vancouver parks' Park Board to vote on allowing drinking in some Vancouver parks
Park Board to vote on allowing drinking in some Vancouver parks – Jul 6, 2020

Both mayors say it’s going so well, they hope their pilot projects continue past October.

“Doesn’t need to be something that requires months, if not years, of staff time,” said West. “Treat people like adults and the vast majority of us are gonna do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Park Board referred a motion that would allow drinking in select parks two weeks ago, so staff could keep looking into it.

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

Staff are considering including at least one park in each of the 23 distinct neighbourhoods in the city.

They were also asked to look into only allowing an alcoholic beverage if it was consumed with a meal.

The Park Board will be back on Monday to discuss the motion.

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