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Drinking in seven Port Coquitlam parks to become permanent after pilot success

Last Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 3:43 pm PDT

Gates Park in Port Coquitlam (Image Credit: CityNews)

Port Coquitlam mayor says success of pilot project is in part due to 'treating adults like adults'

Brad West says there was only one noise complaint at one park since a pilot drinking project at parks began

People have been enjoying adult beverages at seven Port Coquitlam parks since June

PORT COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – After green-lighting the initiative in June, Port Coquitlam’s mayor says the ability to enjoy a beer or a cider at seven municipal parks will become permanent in his city.

Brad West says much of the success comes after treating “adults like adults” and allowing many — who are, overall, following the rules — to do what many other parts of the world have been doing for years.

“The people who might be irresponsible, the reality is that whether government says you’re allowed to have a drink or not, they’re still going to do it. So the only people you punish by not allowing this is the responsible people,” he told NEWS 1130.

West says there were initially a number of naysayers, but when it comes to the number of complaints connected to people drinking in those green spaces, there was just one.

“One noise complaint in one park, and it happened in the first week of the pilot project. Bylaw attended right away, spoke to the individuals, and the issue was resolved,” he said.

West says people have been enjoying adult beverages at Castle, Gates, Lions, Aggie, Evergreen and Cedar Drive parks, as well as part of Settlers Park. The project allowed those of age to have a drink from dawn until dusk until Oct. 31.

At the time, council said they were choosing those spaces because they had washrooms, picnic tables, and shelters — and were also going to be inspected at least weekly.

“It was about families being able to get together. Some really creative things, as well: I know, for instance, there were a couple of weddings that took place in our outdoor parks — and how nice for that bride and groom that they were able to have a toast or a glass of champagne to toast their start to their new lives together. Lots of different things like that: birthday parties, retirement gatherings … it was extremely positive,” West explained.

The next step will be to add three more parks to the list: Peace, McLean, and Dominion.

“It’s largely due to public feedback, so we did run a survey – very extensive survey – and we got a lot a tremendous response from the community at the end of the year, basically asking what their experience was, where they support it continuing, were there any parks that they thought that potentially should be included that initially weren’t. So largely based on that feedback, we made the decision to add [those three] parks,” he said.

Signs will go up at the three trial sites and feedback will be collected through an online survey.

The survey will be open until Oct. 31, 2021.