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District of North Vancouver agrees to booze in parks

14 parks included on the list for pilot project
Jordan Back with Booze Happy web PM
Coun. Jordan Back has won unanimous support for a motion to allow responsible consumption of alcohol within 14 parks in the District of North Vancouver.

Cheers! The District of North Vancouver is the latest municipality to allow alcohol within some municipal parks.

The motion to pop corks in public came from Coun. Jordan Back, following successful experiments with liberalized liquor laws in the City of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver.

Council voted Monday (July 19) to allow responsible drinking within limited areas of 14 district parks: Eldon, Sowden, Carisbrooke, Princess, Kilmer, Kirkstone, Arborlynn, Bridgman, Seylynn, Garibaldi, McCartney Creek, Panorama, Deep Cove and Strathcona.

Staff selected those parks to ensure each geographic area of the district has access to the pilot project, and because they all have popular picnic areas, easy access to transit, garbage pickup, patrols by park rangers, and, with the exception of three parks, washrooms on site.

Areas within the parks where pilsners are permitted will be marked with signs, and kept away from other conflicting uses like sports fields and playgrounds. Those who stray outside the permitted area with a stiff drink can face a stiff fine of up to $300.

Most of the debate from council centred around whether Panorama or Deep Cove parks should be included on the list, largely because Cove residents expressed worries that potent potables in the park would be yet another draw to the seaside village that’s already grown too popular for its own good.

Coun. Betty Forbes questioned whether there were too many parks on the list for the district to be able to enforce.

The vote, however, was unanimous.

“I'm really pleased to see that we're doing this and aligning ourselves with the other North Shore municipalities, wherever we can,” Back said. “There's lots of support from the community. We've heard from many, many people that are looking forward to this, as I am.”

Coun. Jim Hanson characterized the decision as “bringing our liquor laws in the district into the modern age.”

Mayor Mike Little voted in favour of the bylaw but not before issuing a stern warning to those predisposed to IPA-fuelled hooliganism.

“I don't want to be a Debbie Downer on all of this but we have to restate that public intoxication is still illegal in this space, both by federal law and by provincial law,” he said. “And so, overconsumption in the parks can still be addressed by the RCMP. They have very broad discretion.”

The bylaw still requires one more vote by council before it comes into effect. That is scheduled to happen on July 26, the last meeting before the summer break. In the fall, district staff will report back to council with options to continue, amend or scrap the project.