A North Shore municipality has become the first local government in B.C. to permit people to enjoy alcoholic beverages in city parks without requiring a special event licence.
Last night, City of North Vancouver council voted 6-1 in favour of a staff recommendation to establish a consumption of liquor in a public place bylaw.
"When used in moderation, liquor consumption can be enjoyable for people and facilitate social interaction," a staff report states. "Allowing public consumption of liquor in public spaces would be a significant shift in liquor policy in the City and the City would be the first municipality in British Columbia to permit public consumption of liquor."
Staff recommended that the pilot project end on October 15, followed by an evaluation and a report to council.
Signs would indicate where and when liquor consumption is allowed in public spaces.
There are several locations identified in the staff report, including: Victoria Park (West), sections in Mahon and Waterford parks, Kings Mill Walk park, 14th Street Civic Plaza, part of Shipbuilders Square, and Cates Deck.
Other areas where liquor may be consumed during the trial are the west side of the 100 block of Lonsdale Avenue, the west side of Lonsdale Avenue from 14th to 18th streets, the east side of Lonsdale Avenue from 12th to 18th streets, and sections along Grand Boulevard.
North Vancouver RCMP told city staff that it supports this initiative as a small pilot project, even though the Mounties believe it will result in more calls for service.
North Van council is also promoting a broader initiative to allow restaurants and retailers "the opportunity to temporarily expand onto public space, where possible, to provide more operational space to businesses while meeting the Provincial requirements for physical distancing".
"While final details are still being worked out, staff will be considering opportunities to expand into sidewalks, parking, streets, plazas and park space while respecting the need for pedestrian movement and public use of these spaces," another staff report states. "The initial focus of this initiative will be Lower and Central Lonsdale".