Pints in Port Moody’s parks will continue to be enjoyed, at least until the end of the year.
The city’s pilot program allowing liquor consumption in public parks was supposed to end on April 30, but council decided on Feb. 28 to extend the pilot project for another eight months.
Because it only started in early August, 2022, staff advised council to give the program a shot to run through the whole summer.
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“This will provide for a full summer season in these spaces (including in conjunction with major events taking place in Rocky Point Park), allow staff more time to evaluate the program and gather data, and allow engagement with park users and other stakeholders including local businesses,” the staff report stated.
The Port Moody Police Department recorded a total of six complaints associated with the program until February, 2023, and the city’s bylaw officers did not see any increase in calls related to alcohol-related issues within parks.
The city’s park ranger did note an increase in the number of inquiries from park patrons, mostly seeking clarification.
The project was started during the COVID-19 pandemic, as health restrictions forced residents into more open spaces.
Port Moody was one of many Metro Vancouver municipalities to initiate such a project, by introducing new bylaws to formalize the activity.
The bylaws establish a 10-metre buffer zone around playground equipment, and prohibit consumption on school district parks.
With the extension of the program, staff have cut two locations away from the authorized locations: Old Orchard Park’s beach due to glass concerns, and the Inlet Field spectator stands due to construction.
Responsible drinking will continue to be permitted from 11 a.m. to dusk at Rocky Point Park, Old Orchard Park, Pioneer Memorial Park (excluding the Labyrinth Healing Garden), Kyle Centre pop-up park, Trasolini Field spectator stands, and Queens Street Plaza.
However, liquor is not allowed on sidewalks and trails, based on the recommendation from Port Moody police.
The city will allocate additional resources to the program.
Police and bylaw officers are requesting additional signage at the locations, and the staff have recommended buying more durable aluminum signs at a cost of $1,500.
Staff are also recommending $35,000 more for maintenance work associated with the clean-up costs resulting from higher park usage.
A final evaluation of the program will be reported back to council in late 2023, direction on next steps will be sought.