New Westminster to allow alcohol consumption in select public parks

Apr 14 2021, 10:39 am

The City of New Westminster will become the latest city in Metro Vancouver to allow alcohol consumption in select parks as part of a pilot project, after a motion was approved by council on Tuesday.

Put forward by Councillor Patrick Johnstone, the motion noted that both North Vancouver and Port Coquitlam piloted successful trials in 2020 designating parts or all of designated City parks as places where alcohol can be consumed, and in 2021, both have moved to expand these areas and make the designations permanent due to positive public response.

In New Westminster, the parks – and specific locations – included in the project will be:

  • Port Royal Park: Crescent field and picnic shelter north of the restrooms
  • Grimston Park: Open field and picnic area north of the Wading Pool
  • Moody Park: Mixed-use grass fields (not paved areas or sport courts) north of the
    multi-use Path
  • Hume Park: Upper Hume Park south of the dog run and forested area
  • Sapperton Park: Open field portion of the park fronting on E. Columbia Street
  • Pier Park: the grass picnic field and adjacent grass knoll

In his motion, Johnstone noted he chose the parks and locations due to the fact they “provide adequate space for varying users, feature safe and open spaces popular for picnics and family gathering, and have public restrooms available, therefore providing ideal
conditions for initial designation as alcohol-permitted spaces.”

The motion was given the go-ahead by all council members except for Councillor Chuck Puchmayr, who said he “cannot support” it.

“One of the things that they talk about is creating safe spaces for youth and children away from alcohol,” he said. “I feel that this resolution does the opposite. It actually puts more alcohol into areas of parks, and where youth and children can be involved.”

In expressing his disapproval, Puchmayr said he “would like us to think about the people who can’t control alcohol consumption, that are really affected by it. I want to do everything we can to prevent exposure to alcohol to our young children.”

With the approval of the pilot project plan, alcohol consumption will be allowed in the designated areas of the selected parks, from 11 am to dusk, seven days a week.

Staff will review the program after the 2021 “picnic season” and report back to Council in early 2022 on challenges, concerns, public feedback, the motion said.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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