The Vancouver Park Board has made amendments to its alcohol consumption pilot as it awaits the green light to officially launch the project.
The changes were made during Monday’s Park Board meeting. Revisions were made to the areas where alcohol consumption will be allowed in seven of the 22 parks.
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Many of the changes were made with the natural environment of the parks in mind. At New Brighton Park, for example, the boundary was adjusted to remove a part of the park that will be a restoration area, as well as a pathway that leads to an “environmentally sensitive” area of the park.
Similarly, a revision was needed at Vanier Park, in order to minimize any potential human disturbance that would occur near the edge of the freshwater pond, which has been designated an ecologically sensitive area.
Other changes included ensuring that the designated alcohol consumption zones were distanced or removed from areas that are heavily frequented by families with young children, like at Pandora Park.
A bylaw that will allow the Vancouver Park Board to enact its Alcohol in Park pilot program was approved in late May. The idea of allowing alcohol in Vancouver parks has been in development for more than two years, starting with feasibility studies in late 2018.
The pilot will allow for the consumption of alcohol at 22 parks in the city. Each park will have designated areas for consumption, which will be permitted between the hours of 11 am and 9 pm. The pilot will run until October 11, 2021.
There is, however, one missing piece before the Park Board can officially launch the pilot. The provincial government needs to pass a bill that amends the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (LCLA).
While the bylaw that can enact the Park Board’s pilot project has been approved, it won’t launch until the amendment is officially made.
“Currently, the Park Board is awaiting the Lieutenant Governor’s office to formalize the regulation, which is required to put the amendment to the Liquor Control and Licensing Act into force,” a Park Board spokesperson tells Daily Hive in a statement.
“Once this is complete, the Park Board will announce a launch date for the upcoming Alcohol in Parks Pilot. Until then, alcoholic beverages can only be consumed at licensed establishments while visiting Vancouver parks or beaches.”
Why an amendment change is needed before Vancouver’s alcohol consumption pilot can launch
As it stands, the Liquor Control and Licensing Act (LCLA) allows local governments to designate public places under their jurisdiction where liquor can be consumed, such as parks and beaches.
So far, several municipalities such as North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, and New Westminster have launched pilot projects of their own, allowing for responsible consumption in select areas.
The issue with the City of Vancouver is within the Vancouver Charter. According to the Ministry of Public Safety, while the LCLA applies to Vancouver, the Charter grants “exclusive jurisdiction and control over all public parks” in the city to the Park Board.
But since the Park Board isn’t a municipality or regional district, it lacks the authority under the LCLA to pass the needed bylaw. This means that neither Vancouver’s City Council nor the Park Board have the authority to launch an alcohol consumption pilot.
This could change if an amendment is made to the LCLA. In late April, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth introduced a bill that would “authorize the Vancouver Park Board to designate specific places under its jurisdiction as places where liquor may be consumed.”
A spokesperson from the ministry tells Daily Hive that the “amendment will be brought into force by regulation at a later date.”
Although a specific date hasn’t been made clear, the ministry adds that they’re “aware” of the Park Board’s request that this be implemented for Summer 2021.
For now, fingers crossed that the amendment is made sooner rather than later. Until then, here are the 22 parks in Vancouver that would allow for a boozy beverage.