Four Vancouver plazas approved for pilot project allowing outdoor drinking

VANCOUVER — Residents will soon have four new outdoor locations in Vancouver to enjoy a beer or glass of wine.

Vancouver council has approved a pilot project allowing alcohol consumption in four city plazas.

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The project is slated to begin August 10 and continue until mid-October.

The plazas include three in the downtown core and one in the city's Cambie Village neighbourhood.

A report on the proposal says city staff worked to resolve concerns raised by police and health officials who were opposed to the project.

The report says concerns included "enabling public intoxication and supporting public gatherings during the COVID pandemic," and staff will monitor the project and make adjustments as required.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart released a social media message following the vote approving the outdoor drinking plazas.

"Here's to helping people safely distance while enjoying a drink outside," Stewart wrote on Twitter, adding "enjoy responsibly."

Park Board commissioners in Vancouver voted Monday in favour of allowing alcohol consumption in 22 parks around the city but the project likely won't begin until next year.

The delay is due to a board request that the provincial government update the Liquor Control and Licensing Act to recognize the board as a governing body under specific sections of the legislation.

It's expected that the legislature will not have time to immediately deal with the request, delaying the sale of beer, cider or coolers in certain city parks until 2021.

The cities of Port Coquitlam and North Vancouver voted earlier this year to allow liquor consumption in several parks, but their pilot programs started immediately and didn't need provincial approval.

(With files from CTV)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2020.

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