UPDATE: While the item was on the agenda for the May 31 meeting, council ran out of time and did not address it. It has been moved to the June 21 meeting.
The last North Shore municipality with an outright prohibition on partaking in potent potables in public may be ready to join the party.
District of North Vancouver Coun. Jordan Back will introduce a motion Monday that asks staff to draw plans “to permit the responsible consumption of alcohol in select public spaces.”
“We're exploring something that's already been tried in other municipalities with success. And, as other councillors who have brought similar motions forward in their municipalities have said, if you treat adults like adults, they tend to act like adults – and it's been a pretty good thing,” Back said in an interview.
After starting a pilot project to allow liquor in some parks in 2020, City of North Vancouver council opted to make the rule change permanent last fall. District of West Vancouver council is scheduled for a final vote on their already approved plan to allow tipples within Millennium Park on the Ambleside waterfront.
Off the North Shore, councils in Port Coquitlam, Delta and New Westminster have also cleared the way for responsible liquor consumption in parks.
Based on the experience of those who have gone first, Back said there’s no reason to expect problems in the district.
“It really hasn't resulted in a huge increase in issues. In fact, people are really, really enjoying … being able to use that space and socialize, and have an adult beverage while they're doing it,” he said, adding that he has been envious of the folks he’s seen enjoying Grand Boulevard and Ray Perreault Park in the city.
Back said he doesn’t intend for the drinking to be allowed in every park – especially the ones that are more natural or contain hazards, like Lynn Canyon. But he said parks that are close to multi-family homes and ones where people like to picnic would be ideal.
While most other councils have embraced pilsners in the park, Back said it is by no means a guarantee his motion will pass.
“I don't know, to be honest, on this one. I think it's going to receive mixed reviews,” he said. “We'll see if I can get four votes. There's certainly not going to be everybody on council supporting this, I don't think, but I'm hopeful.”