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Delta throwback: Defending public enjoyment of the beach

Petitions demanded action by police to stop the partying and noise
The police chief noted that noon was ‘early for a happy party to break up’.

Let’s head back to the July 1959 pages of the Optimist, when Delta municipal council called Police Chief Merv Smith on the carpet to explain what was being done to address concerns about Centennial Beach.

Several Boundary Bay property owners submitted a petition about the beauty of the beach “being spoiled” by rowdy parties lasting into the early hours of the morning, piles of beer and whisky bottles left on the beach, beach fires, singing and laughing and honking horns.

Smith told council that beaches were for the use of the public, and he sympathized with the family who came for a day’s picnic and were unable to roast their wieners.

He also said “singing and screaming went along with young people swimming and enjoying themselves” and that “many adults liked a bottle of beer with their picnic sandwiches”.

Smith agreed the beach was unsafe when bottles and opened cans were left on the sand, but noted the beach could be kept cleaner if there were more receptacles for rubbish.

He also said that the police did not enforce the “No Parking” and “Keep to the Right” signs because there was no bylaw written by which he could enforce those sign rules.

Council agreed to have the city’s parks committee draw up a bylaw covering all Delta parks.