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Vancouver turns down drinking in public spaces

Last Updated Jun 4, 2020 at 11:43 am PST


Drinking in public places is not going ahead in Vancouver after council shut down the motion

Council did agree on a pilot program on drinking in parks and beaches

Vancouver Park Board is in charge of the pilot program

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A push to allow public drinking in certain spots in Vancouver didn’t get enough traction Tuesday night at city council.

The motion put forward by Coun. Pete Fry would have allowed people to drink responsibly in public spaces operated by the city, such as the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza.

But the motion was shut down.

Coun. Melissa De Genova tweeted about it failing that night, saying: “Designating public spaces for alcohol consumption is not something Vancouver City Council can approach with an ‘Act now…Ask Questions Later’ attitude.”

She argues public safety, health and the city’s budget need to be considered.

A day earlier, North Vancouver approved public drinking in certain locations.

Watch: City of North Vancouver to allow drinking in public parks

Pilot project goes ahead

In Vancouver, similar motion put forward by Coun. Christine Boyle to allow for public drinking in parks and beaches was also discussed and passed over to the hands of the Vancouver Park Board, which actually has jurisdiction on the decision, not council.

It was decided to back a pilot project on drinking at Vancouver parks and beaches, which the Park Board to discuss Monday night.

Boyle tweeted that “After a couple of hours of (sometimes interesting, sometimes tedious) debate, the motion was passed by council” and she will work with the board’s commissioner.

Boyle notes many Vancouverites rent and live in small spaces, limiting their options to socialize outdoors while also physically distancing.

“Getting outside is valuable for your mental health, particularly those of us who live in small spaces. I think that’s why we’ve heard such broad support,” she explains.

If approved by the park board, this trial could take place over the summer.

-With files from Bailey Nicholson and Jonathan Szekeres