Drinking in parks not on radar for Burnaby council

If you’ve seen news of Vancouver, North Vancouver and other cities approving limited drinking in parks programs, and you’re hoping to see the same in Burnaby – don’t hold your breath.

While Mayor Mike Hurley told the NOW he would be open to discussion on the issue, it’s not something that has come up in any meetings he’s been in.

“It's hard to gauge where council would be out of that because there's been absolutely no discussion on it,” Hurley said.

While the Vancouver Parks Board has considered the matter for a few years, now, it recently went ahead and approved a pilot program that would see limited areas where drinking would be allowed at a select number of parks. The board would also seek to get liquor licences to sell drinks at kiosks in those parks.

The City of North Vancouver is also allowing drinking in nine parks in a limited program that expires in October. Port Coquitlam is also allowing drinking in some parks until the end of October.

The move is intended to allow people to gather with friends in an environment that allows more physical distancing than, for instance, on a restaurant’s patio.

It’s unclear whether the trend will hold after the pandemic is declared over – likely when a vaccine has been broadly implemented.

But it seems such a program is unlikely in Burnaby, with only a few months left before the weather turns rainy in the fall.

Hurley couldn’t offer any particular reason the issue hasn’t come up in Burnaby City Hall.

“It’s just something that I haven't even heard mentioned anywhere within the city to be honest. No one's asked anything about it. No one has brought it forward at any meeting. It's just not something that's been seen as a priority, I guess,” Hurley said.

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