Vancouver passes motion for legal booze consumption in some public areas

Jun 24 2020, 10:21 am

After shutting down the idea earlier this month, the City of Vancouver will be allowing alcohol consumption in select public areas.

The original motion was introduced earlier in June by Councillors Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe. It looked at designating public, City-owned spaces for the “responsible consumption of alcohol.”

The initial motion, which was voted on June 2, failed to pass. City Council reconsidered the motion on Tuesday night, however, after Councillor Lisa Dominato brought forward the idea to reconsider the vote.

“Since the time of that vote, I’ve heard from the public increasingly that there’s interest in giving this a try,” she said during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“It’s really centred around people saying ‘listen, let’s treat adults like adults.'”

She adds that other issues that urged her to reconsider include how small businesses benefit from the motion, as well as various issues of equity.

“Specifically with residents who live in apartments or condos who don’t have access to public outdoor space,” Dominato explains. “But also members of the community who feel they face heightened scrutiny over the colour of their skin and higher levels of discrimination.”

While many members of City Council were in favour of passing the motion, several remained adamant, especially after a warning provided by Vancouver Coastal Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patricia Daly.

Councillors also stressed that for a lot of restaurants “this is their make and break” and that the pilot project wouldn’t be able to wait until next summer.

The motion was ultimately passed, with city staff being directed to develop a bylaw that includes designated areas and a framework around the pilot project.