City of Vancouver to reconsider alcohol consumption in public spaces

Jun 11 2020, 5:23 pm

After shutting down a motion to allow alcohol consumption in select public spaces, the City of Vancouver will be reconsidering the idea at an upcoming City Council meeting.

The original motion, introduced by Councillors Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe, suggested designating public, City-owned space for the “responsible consumption of alcohol.”

“We’ve heard from folks about the need to connect socially while physically distancing,” Fry tweeted. “With apartments or where patio access isn’t an option, a few drinks with friends becomes an equity issue.”

The initial motion, which was voted on June 2, ended in a 5-5 tie. Since it required a majority vote, it was unable to move forward.

City of Vancouver

Now, Councillor Lisa Dominato has introduced a new motion, urging her fellow councillors to reconsider the idea.

“Since the vote last week, I’ve heard from the public and there’s a number of themes that emerged from residents and businesses,” she tells Daily Hive in an interview. “Some of those themes were that these are unprecedented times and with unprecedented times come unprecedented measures in having to physical distance.”

“Let’s treat adults like adults and give this a try,” she continues. “Dr. Henry is saying the best place to be is outdoors if you’re going to be socializing.”

Dominato adds that she thinks there are two issues that didn’t “get enough attention” during last week’s meeting — equity and small businesses.

“You look at residents who live in apartments and don’t have access to outdoor spaces and want to safely socialize with others,” she explains. “I don’t think that got enough attention last week as part of the conversation.”

She notes that there were a number of residents who also spoke to her citing that they face “insecurity, largely because of the colour of their skin.”

Another reason she changed her stance was a number of BIAs that explained how passing the motion would benefit small businesses.

“A number of BIAs reached out to me, particularly around how small businesses would like to take advantage of this,” she explained. “With takeout meals, microbreweries, someone could reasonably go down to a plaza, have a meal, and do that responsibly.”

Dominato has also spoken to several other councillors who voted in favour of the motion, saying that she thinks Council “can collaborate and explore these things further.”

“I’m really hopeful that in bringing the motion back, we can get support to try this out,” she says. “Let’s set some parameters around a four to six-month trial, give this a go, and also allow the public, the VPD, and others to have continuous feedback.”

Dominato’s motion will be discussed during City Council’s next meeting, scheduled for June 23.

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