Visitors to West Vancouver’s Millennium Park will be able to continue enjoying booze responsibly at the park if they so choose.
District of West Vancouver council approved making its pilot project to allow legal consumption of alcohol in the park permanent, at its Oct. 18 general meeting.
Plus, more West Van parks may be added to the list of where suds may be sipped in the near future.
The district staff report notes the Millennium Park pilot was a success with no complaints received by the district and no police or bylaw enforcement required.
Since COVID-19 struck, the B.C. government has supported communities and businesses to rebuild economic and social activity by relaxing some of the regulations with the Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation.
On May 31, council adopted a new bylaw – Consumption of Liquor in Public Spaces – that allowed the public to consume liquor in Millennium Park, making it possible for people to take out a meal and a bottle of wine from a local restaurant and enjoy them safely there.
Other municipalities on the North Shore have also adopted similar bylaws.
In 2020, the City of North Vancouver adopted a bylaw to allow liquor consumption in specific parks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to provide safe and social outdoor spaces. The district of North Vancouver adopted a similar bylaw in July 2021.
In the report to council, Corinne Ambor, the district’s parks stewardship manager, said both district staff and the Ambleside Dundarave Business Improvement Association were pleased with the outcomes of the pilot and were supportive of its continuation.
“Continuing with the alcohol-allowed area in Millennium Park beyond Oct. 31, 2021, supports community sustainability by providing safe areas to socialize and supports businesses by providing outdoor space for patrons to enjoy takeout purchases including alcoholic beverages,” she said.
The item was approved along with other consent agenda items without discussion.
Up until October 2021, the cost of the pilot totalled $6,294, including costs for signage and to provide access to public toilets. Funding for the pilot was provided in the district’s COVID Fund.
Other parks being proposed by staff include Ambleside Landing around the Ferry Building Gallery, John Lawson Park and Dundarave Park (excluding the playground areas).
Staff picked the locations because they already have established gathering and picnic areas, are close to public transit and local businesses.
The extra locations will be brought forward for council’s consideration in spring 2022.
Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.