When it comes to consuming in public, the Vancouver Park Board is at a crossroads. Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the Park Board has been toying with the concept of permitting Vancouverites to drink their very own alcohol in out of doors, in socially distanced public settings.

Locarno Beach // Photo by Michael S.

Drinking in Public as a Pilot Project

This concept developed right into a proposed three-month pilot mission, which might enable for the consumption of alcohol in some choose public parks throughout the metropolis. The mission envisions public consuming in ten parks, together with Locarno Beach, Queen Elizabeth Park and Vanier Park. If it goes off with out a hitch, it could possibly be expanded throughout the metropolis and made everlasting. However, the Park Board is dragging its toes. Set to vote on July 6, 2020, they’ve now postponed their choice to approve the mission – or not – till July 20, 2020.

This signifies that – at the very earliest – the mission could be put into movement in late July.

But this delay might frustrate the mission totally, making it absurd and a waste of taxpayer assets, which might in the end be used to fund its implementation. After all, the utility of a summer time pilot mission that runs into Vancouver’s notoriously wet fall season is questionable at finest.

Determining the success of a mission that requires individuals to be
outside, spending social time in uncovered, unsheltered parks, when Vancouverites are swapping their sandals for rain boots is each ironic and illogical. What’s extra, is that the whole mission was spurred by the state of emergency declared on account of COVID-19. While bars and eating places shut or supply diminished providers and seating, residents have been inspired to get outdoors and spend socially-distanced time in small teams. As issues slowly return to regular, the want for a speedy response by the metropolis will diminish and grow to be much less essential.

For the most half, although, socially-distanced out of doors gatherings have been successful. Vancouverites are taking the lead on this; however it doesn’t take distinctive observational powers to discover that many are already partaking in public consuming, with or with none approval from the forces that be.

Vancouver Park Board’s official approval can take time

However, if the Park Board needs to give official approval to our de facto actuality, delays received’t be the solely roadblock; there’s additionally an excessive amount of administrative purple tape to wade by. Bylaws will likely be the first of those. With many municipal and provincial bylaws associated to the sale and consumption of alcohol, practicality and enforcement could grow to be problematic in unregulated, out of doors settings.

For instance, there’s a bylaw that requires liquor to be consumed with a meal. This would imply that park-goers would have to pair their beers with a burger or a bag of chips. But what constitutes a meal, and who would resolve? Do we actually need park rangers and cops peering into our picnic baskets and making an attempt to work out a timeline of after we final had a snack? This bylaw may make sense for eating places, pubs and bars…however after we strive to take it outside, it veers into the absurd.

There’s additionally a small legislative drawback associated to consuming in public.

After all, alcohol is ruled by the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Act. Under this Act, the Vancouver Park Board has no management or energy over selections associated to alcohol. Technically talking, it can’t make legal guidelines associated to it. Although there’s some indication that the Board is working to have the Act amended in order to transfer ahead, everyone knows how slowly most of these modifications can come into impact.

Finally, there’s some query as to why the Park Board is proscribing its concerns to alcohol. By failing to additionally think about the public consumption of one other authorized substance – specifically, hashish – the Park Board could possibly be making a stigmatizing double-standard. And these involved with the distinctive odor related to smoking hashish flower ought to think about the indisputable fact that low-odour vaporizers, edibles and different strategies of consumption additionally exist.

But it could all be for nothing. If the mission isn’t accredited at the subsequent Park Board assembly, it could by no means get off the floor.

The Park Board’s July 20, 2020, assembly is their final for the summer time.

Yes or No to Outdoor Drinking Bylaws? Let us know what you suppose in the feedback down under?

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