Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think we have all learned to appreciate our neighbourhoods like never before and that includes public spaces, like our beautiful parks, in the District of North Vancouver.
While there are many activities that can take place in these parks, one activity that has never been permitted is consuming alcohol, and I think the time has come for that to change.
In many parts of the world, enjoying a beer or glass of wine with friends in a public space is fairly common place and now several municipalities in our region including the City of North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, New Westminster, Delta, and most recently, West Vancouver have made the necessary bylaw changes to permit responsible alcohol consumption in their communities, and it has been very well received.
I will soon be bringing a motion forward to DNV Council, asking staff to bring back a proposal for a two-year pilot project that would permit responsible alcohol consumption in select parks and other public spaces.
In selecting which parks are included, considerations such as those with adequate recycling and waste receptacles as well as access to washrooms should be included.
It is also important to note that by allowing alcohol consumption in these public spaces, the laws around things like public drunkenness, underage drinking, or drinking and driving do not change in any way.
In preparing this motion, I have heard overwhelming support from residents including young families who do not have the luxury of owning a private backyard and use our parks as places to picnic and socialize, to retirees who would like to be able to safely meet their friends for Happy Hour in one of our many beautiful parks, while at the same time supporting one of our community’s excellent craft breweries or distilleries.
As the world begins to open up again and we face what we all hope is our final pandemic summer, I hope our community will embrace the idea of being able to enjoy an adult beverage in a public park. If you support this idea, or have any other feedback, I would welcome your input to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jordan Back is a District of North Vancouver councillor.