As promised during the civic election campaign, the ABC Vancouver party is moving to permanently allow alcohol consumption across Vancouver parks.
Vancouver Park Board commissioners will deliberate next week a member motion by ABC commissioner Jas Virdi to direct Park Board staff to start the process of making alcohol consumption permanently legal year-round.
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This would effectively make permanent legal alcohol consumption at 22 park locations that were part of a seasonal pilot project in 2021 and 2022, with the new forthcoming policy going into effect at the start of Summer 2023. Both previous pilot projects ran between June and October only.
Legal drinking would also be expanded beyond the 22 park locations, as Park Board staff would be asked to prepare a list of other parks where the permanent program could be expanded.
Additionally, Park Board staff would be directed to create a plan by early 2023 to launch a pilot project for legal alcohol consumption in a Vancouver beach setting.
The expansion of alcohol consumption at parks and beaches would be based on factors such as the availability of public washrooms and waste facilities. Virdi’s motion suggests there are roughly over 70 parks with existing public washroom facilities that may support the expansion of the alcohol in parks program.
According to Park Board staff, the previous pilot projects were not problematic in terms of public behaviour, and there were no increases in the volumes of alcohol-related calls to the Vancouver Police or alcohol-related hospital emergency room visits. A survey found that 86% of respondents were supportive of the responsible consumption of alcohol in parks.
“The experiences and findings from the 2021 and 2022 alcohol in parks pilot programs demonstrate that responsible consumption of alcohol in Vancouver parks is not only popular but also without significant problems, incidents, and/or issues,” reads Virdi’s motion.
With the ABC party holding a super majority control of six of the seven seats in the Park Board, the motion is expected to pass.