Vancouver Park Board votes to allow drinking in 22 public parks, but legislation still needed

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Vancouver Park Board approves drinking in 22 city parks
The Vancouver Park Board has finally approved a motion to allow alcohol in 22 city parks, Aaron McArthur explains – Jul 28, 2020

The Vancouver Park Board finally voted to allow drinking in 22 public parks during a virtual meeting Monday night.

They also amended that motion to make possible the sale of beer, cider, and coolers at nearby park concessions.

NPA Commissioner John Coupar brought forward that amendment, saying it’s a way for the city to make some extra cash.

“Our revenue is drastically reduced during this pandemic situation, and I think we’re just starting to get our concessions to open up,” said Coupar. “I think it’s an opportunity as businesses have had more flexibility in terms of selling alcohol to keep them afloat; I think the park board should follow the city’s example.”

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“We would get part of the revenue, as opposed to if they go to a cold beer store now and walk to one of the designated areas, there are now revenue opportunities for the park board,” he added,

However, the board still hasn’t been given provincial legislation to allow a proposed pilot project to go through, and they voted down an option that would have sped up that process.

With the Legislature not sitting again until this fall, it may be that a pilot project may not be forthcoming until sometime in 2021.

Vancouver Park Board first broached the idea of limited public drinking in 2018, and revisited the topic once the pandemic hit this year.

North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam have both managed to enact the needed changes to bylaws allowing public liquor consumption in a matter of weeks, and have since reported few if any problems.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday July 29, Vancouver City Council will address its own bylaw that would allow liquor consumption in public plazas.

With files by Robyn Crawford and Aaron McArthur

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