It’s been over two years since the Vancouver Park Board (VPB) first began to look seriously at the idea, but now, residents might be one step closer to being able to legally consume alcohol in select parks throughout the city.
On Thursday, BC Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth introduced a bill to amend the Liquor Control and Licensing Act “to authorize the Vancouver park board to designate specific public places under its jurisdiction as places where liquor may be consumed.”
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If passed, the motion means the VPB would be able to launch a pilot project around alcohol consumption in parks. No specific timeline has been given on how long this whole process will take.
Even still, Vancouver-Hastings MLA Niki Sharma shared her optimism on this latest development via Twitter.
We are changing the rules so that alcohol can be permitted in designated areas in Vancouver Parks! 🍻 🥂 🍷 @ParkBoard will have to power to designate areas.
— Niki Sharma (she/her) (@NikiSharma2) April 29, 2021
The Vancouver Park Board approved a plan to allow alcohol in select parks last summer, but approval from the provincial government was still required. This is because, under the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act, “municipalities and regional districts” are able to designate areas for public consumption.
However, because the VPB is essentially its own entity (the only one of its kind in BC), with its own governance over Vancouver parks, it does not fall under either of these classifications.
This means that in order for the park board to allow legal alcohol consumption at parks and beaches, language at the provincial level needs to be updated – hence Farnworth’s motion.