Vancouver Green Party councillors Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe plan to introduce a motion next week to have city council designate in a bylaw that people will be allowed to bring and consume their own alcoholic beverages at some public spaces.
The city has no jurisdiction over parks, but it could designate this new status on plazas – “think [Vancouver] Art Gallery space or new street closures,” Fry told BIV May 20 in a direct Twitter message.
He anticipates that the motion will be debated at a council meeting on May 26. At that same meeting, Coun. Christine Boyle intends to introduce a motion to allow drinking in city parks. Fry, however, told BIV that city council has no jurisdiction over parks – a view shared by park board commissioners.
This is not to say that all park commissioners do not want to allow public drinking in city parks. Park commissioner Dave Demers in late 2018 put forward a motion to conduct a feasibility study on a pilot project to allow BYOB (bring your own booze) consumption at parks and beaches.
Fry's motion asks city staff to prepare a bylaw that abides by language under B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licensing Act that allows public consumption of alcohol in select public places that are under city jurisdiction.
That act says that "a public place, or part of it, may be designated, by a bylaw of the municipality or regional district that has jurisdiction over the public place, as a place where liquor may be consumed."
Fry's motion also directs staff to consult with the Vancouver Police Department, engineering and planning staff to recommend appropriate locations within the city’s jurisdiction to pilot the program. That consultation would also develop clear guidelines for hours and conditions of use, location boundaries, respect for neighbours, location of nearest bathroom facilities, complaint mechanisms and rules for the responsible consumption of alcohol.
Fry said that he hopes that the city will agree to provide options for Vancouverites to enjoy the outdoors with a beer or wine while respecting their neighbours, and socially distancing.