People will be allowed to have brew or two on seven of the city's beaches this year.
Additionally, more city parks have been added to the list of places one can have a glass of wine or cocktail in a can after the city's parks board voted to approve new rules Monday night, April 24.
From June 1 to Sept. 4 people will be allowed to drink at these beaches between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
- Jericho Beach
- Spanish Banks
- Locarno Beach
- Kitsilano Beach
- Trout Lake Beach in John Hendry Park
- New Brighton Beach
The vote passed unanimously.
"I'm very excited for this and looking forward to a great summer on the beach with a drink," said board chair Laura Christensen just before the vote.
The same vote added more than two dozen parks to the list of places people can drink, as well.
However, some are summer-only locations due to how close they are to schools; drinking will only be allowed in July and August.
The list of all 47 park locations is on the city's website; there are some restrictions within the parks as to where someone can drink.
David Lam Park, which had been part of the pilot program has been removed from the list as it's adjacent to a school.
The program is expected to cost the city around $84,000. Costs include new signs at the parks and beaches, new totes to collect waste, and increased staff time and patrols. The costs will be absorbed into the Parks Board's budget.
Park rangers and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), which has beach patrols and will respond to calls, will be making sure the rules are followed, according to staff. While lifeguards will be on duty at some locations, city staff noted they will only be dealing with water safety issues.
Most of the city's beaches are part of the pilot project, but English Bay Beach was left off after concerns around enforcement at that specific beach were raised by rangers and the VPD.
A ban on glass
The policy prohibits glass containers for alcohol, including beer and wine bottles; this is due to safety concerns when glass breaks, staff explained to the board.
"It just brings too much risk to have glass, period," said the parks director Amit Gandha.
Staff noted that they believe it's a manageable risk and will be monitored.
"It'll be on patrons whether or not they want to follow all of the rules that we've put forward in this policy, knowing of course if we see a lot of negative impacts from this policy and folks bring glass to the beach and we're having a lot of issues with people, kids, dogs, whatever it happens to be finding themselves cutting their feet with glass, then we would have to revisit this policy," said acting general manager Steve Jackson.
"The good can sometimes be taken away with a little bit of bad," he added.
Selling alcohol at the beach
With the expectation that the vote would pass, parks staff had already begun the process to apply for licenses that would allow them to sell alcohol at some concession stands at beaches.
Staff said two locations may be up and running by the time the pilot launches in the summer.