Is it even summer if you haven't cracked a beer in the sunshine? Summer vibes are easier to come by in B.C. now because and we'll all be drinking in Port Coquitlam this summer. It's officially legal to drink in the Metro Vancouver municipality, but only in seven of their public parks and only for a short time.

Port Coquitlam announced on Friday, June 26 that they had launched a "Responsible Drinking Pilot" for the summer.

The four-month-long program will allow adults to responsibly consume alcohol in seven parks: Castle, part of Settlers, Gates, Lions, Aggie, Evergreen and Cedar Drive.

From dawn to dusk, you're good to drink in those parks during the pilot. Each park has washrooms, picnic areas and gets inspected often by RCMP, parks staff and Bylaw Officers.

The pilot starts now and runs until Halloween this year, when "staff will report back to Council with a recommendation." It's possible they scrap the project or make it permanent.

According to the press release, municipalities in B.C. can make bylaws for drinking in public under B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation.

Cities have begun to take advantage of that already. You can cheers with friends at public parks nearby in North Vancouver, for example.

After weeks of talks and back and forth, it looks like the City of Vancouver will not proceed with a similar program for summer 2020. 

Poco Mayor Brad West said in a statement that this approach to drinking in public is "common sense."

The project "will give our residents that are gathering with friends and families for a picnic or celebrating a special occasion the opportunity to enjoy a beverage outdoors safely and responsibly,” he said.

During the whole project, the city's door is open to feedback. So, if you want to see it expanded, then be sure to let them know. 

If you are going to drink in the park with friends this summer, be responsible and clean up after yourselves.

Part of the reason for the pilot project is the difficulties facing British Columbians during COVID-19. By opening public spaces for drinking, they're encouraging people to have fun while social distancing

Spending time outdoors with friends two metres apart has never been so fun.

 

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