Vancouver to allow alcohol consumption at 4 public plazas

Vancouver council approves some public drinking
Vancouver council approves some public drinking

You might not be able to legally crack a cold one in a Vancouver park until 2021, but there are now a handful of public places where adults will be able to legally consume alcohol in the city.

Vancouver city council unanimously approved a pilot project Wednesday to permit drinking in four designated public plazas.

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

“The proposed goals of this pilot are to support businesses during a time of capacity reduction (due to COVID-19) and to provide additional socializing spaces for those who may not have access to private outdoor spaces,” states a report to council.

Vancouver Park Board approves drinking in 22 city parks
Vancouver Park Board approves drinking in 22 city parks

The report acknowledges concerns around public intoxication, and says the city will work with police, Vancouver Coastal Health and local business groups to monitor the sites and adjust the program as needed.

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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.

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

At the fourth location, adjacent to the Vancouver Art Gallery, drinking will be allowed between noon and 9 p.m.

The staff report had highlighted the art gallery site as having unique concerns.

“The size of the space, the frequency of large informal gatherings and demonstrations held there combined with public alcohol consumption could present challenges for maintaining public safety,” notes the report.

The four sites are:

Temporary pop-up plaza at W. 17th Avenue and Cambie Street

Bute-Robson Pavement-to-Plaza

Lot 19 Plaza

šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square (Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza)

On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board approved a pilot project to allow drinking in designated areas of 22 city parks.

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However, that pilot won’t be implemented until 2021, due to necessary legislative changes at the provincial level.