Just in time for the BC Day long weekend, Port Moody residents can cool off in the current heatwave with an alcoholic beverage in seven of the city’s outdoor public spaces.
Last Tuesday, council approved a pilot project to allow adults to consume alcohol responsibly from 11 a.m. until dusk at:
- Rocky Point Park
- Old Orchard Park
- Pioneer Memorial Park
- the new Kyle Centre pop-up park
- Queens Street plaza
- the spectator stands at Inlet Park and Trasolini field in Town Centre Park
Drinking won’t be allowed within 10 metres of a playground or spray park (except for the picnic shelter at Old Orchard Park), nor within the Labyrinth healing garden at Pioneer Memorial Park. Signs with maps showing the areas where alcohol can be consumed will be posted at each location as well as online.
The pilot project runs through April, 2023. City staff will report back to council early next year with an evaluation of its progress and recommended next steps.
While some councillors wondered how the city might define “responsible” drinking, Port Moody’s manager of cultural services, Devin Jain, said QR codes on the new signs would encourage discretion.
“We’ll have the opportunity to observe and see if adjustments are needed.”
Jain also said it was decided not to allow alcohol consumption along the city’s trails and sidewalks because they would present challenges for enforcement as well as the erection of signs. Drinking also won’t be permitted at public spaces the city shares with School District 43.
In a report to council,, Port Moody’s general manager of community services, Anna Mathewson, said the locations chosen for the pilot project all have proximity to washrooms and are spread across the city.
She added neighbourhood parks weren’t included because there wasn’t enough time to consult residents if the program was to be implemented in time for this summer.
Mathewson said Port Moody police did not indicate they have any concerns about the pilot project. She said park hosts and bylaw staff will help implement the new rules. As well, infractions won’t be specifically ticketed, but normal enforcement of bylaws related to alcohol consumption will continue.
Port Moody now joins Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, as well as several other communities in Metro Vancouver, that are allowing the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.
A recent study by the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Abuse Research said the loosening of rules for alcohol consumption has coincided with a general increase of eight to 10 per cent in drinking booze since 2013.
Coun. Steve Milani said Port Moody stands to learn a lot from its pilot project, while Coun. Zoe Royer said, “Let’s see where it goes.”