Port Coquitlam to allow alcohol consumption in public parks under pilot project

Jun 10 2020, 4:39 pm

The City of Port Coquitlam said its residents may soon be able to enjoy an adult beverage at seven public parks within its borders, after taking steps on Tuesday night towards “permitting responsible liquor consumption” at the selected parks.

In a release, the City said it is preparing to launch the project at Castle, Settlers, Gates, Lions, Aggie, Evergreen, and Cedar Drive parks until October 31 of this year.

According to officials, these parks were chosen because they meet the criteria of the pilot project by having washrooms, picnic tables and shelters, and weekly or bi-weekly inspections.

“We’ve been encouraging more park use as a way to help people stay connected with their community – especially our large population of apartment and townhouse dwellers who may have limited space to gather outdoors with friends and family at this time,” Mayor Brad West said. “This is part of our continued common sense approach and I’m pleased to see this going forward.”

West noted that with this project, Port Coquitlam will “be joining the many cities around the world that already allow adults to consume alcohol responsibly at parks.”

Bylaws to enable Port Coquitlam’s pilot project will come to the June 23 City Council meeting for consideration, which means responsible drinking of beer, wine, or spirits could be permitted at the seven parks as soon as June 24.

The city also noted that RCMP, parks staff, and Bylaw Officers will monitor the parks as part of their regular surveillance and will respond to complaints about irresponsible behaviour.

“While this adds to the experience at some of our parks, it is a pilot and we’ll be watching to make sure the parks are comfortable for everyone,” noted Councillor Steve Darling. “We expect people to monitor their alcohol consumption as they already do at restaurants or gatherings, be respectful of others and to plan for a safe way home.”

After the pilot ends on October 31, staff will report back to Council with a recommendation on whether or not to continue the initiative, expand it to other parks, or cancel it.

The City will be seeking feedback on the pilot project and will share further information about how input can be provided once the bylaw changes are adopted.

BC’s Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation permits municipalities to pass a bylaw specifying where and when liquor consumption in public is permitted.

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