Cracking open a cold one or uncorking a bottle of wine in designated plazas will now be a year-round activity in Vancouver, but across the water in Victoria councillors say they’re not serving up a motion to allow drinking in public — yet.
Vancouver council voted on Tuesday to allow alcohol consumption at six locations year-round, with summer hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and winter hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
But is it a move we’ll see in Victoria?
“The program that is in Vancouver is not here and has not been proposed,” says Victoria Coun. Marg Gardiner.
In 2020, Saanich council voted on a motion to allow drinking in public parks, only to have that vote struck down.
Victoria council has not asked staff to explore the idea to allow some drinking in public, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t support for a similar project.
“I’d certainly be open to the conversation,” says Coun. Jeremy Caradonna.
“I don’t think that we need to live in a nanny state, I think we can probably figure out a situation which you can enjoy a beer or glass of wine at a park with the kids during a picnic and it’s not a big problem.”
Still, others point to the differences between Victoria and Vancouver in making a decision on the matter.
“I know a couple of the plazas they have mentioned and they’re very wide open spaces and it’s a bit different than here [Victoria],” says Gardiner.
“So I think we’ll have to wait to see if the downtown area, the businesses, are even interested in it.”
Alcohol consumption at the six Vancouver sites will begin May 15, with the program lasting until May 14, 2024.