Delta residents will again be able to legally enjoy a beer in select city parks this summer and for many more summers to come.
On Monday afternoon (April 25), council voted 6 to 1 to give first, second and third reading to a bylaw permitting the consumption of alcohol in designated areas of certain parks in the City of Delta de June to September.
The settlement makes permanent a pilot project last year which permitted the consumption of alcohol in designated areas of North Delta Community Park, Memorial Park in Ladner and Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen from 11 a.m. to dusk, June 1 through September 30.
A report from city staff notes that parks staff worked closely with by-law enforcement officers and the Delta Police to monitor behavior in designated parks last summer and, although by-law officers responded to some complaints during the pilot project, no significant issues were identified.
Additionally, staff only received three complaints through the city’s Let’s Talk Delta platform during the pilot period regarding excessive noise and overflowing garbage.
“Based on the feedback received, staff consider the program to be largely successful,” the report said.
At Monday’s meeting, the con. Dylan Kruger, whose motion in March 2021 led to the creation of the pilot project, called the decision a big step forward both in terms of fairness, as it allows people who do not have access to courses private to go outside, and in terms of “building a fun city where people can have fun and enjoy their local amenities”.
“I think every person I spoke to spoke of this as a huge success,” Kruger said, noting the paucity of complaints during last year’s pilot program.
“We have seen people interact with the parks, as they should be – families with children, young adults, older adults, seniors, people from all walks of life enjoying some of our great recreational assets. in the city, while also being able to support some local businesses. and some of our local breweries by bringing alcoholic beverages to the park and consuming responsibly [them].”
Com. Lois Jackson, citing a letter to Fraser Health’s Population and Public Health Council, Dr. Emily Newhouse, who is concerned about the potential harms of unsupervised drinking on municipal property, voted against the bylaw .
Jackson also expressed concern about the lack of public participation and wanted the bylaw to be subject to a hearing so that council could hear directly from residents rather than receiving comments in “snippets here and there from everywhere.” “.
“I think this is a major public issue.”
Mayor George Harvie, in response, noted that even before the pilot last summer “there was also a lot of booze flowing.”
Harvie said his only concern was making sure bylaw officers checked every day to make sure people stayed in designated drinking areas.
The program will remain limited to the three parks from last summer’s pilot, although a second designated drinking area will be added in the North Delta Community Park south of the parking lot. Also, according to user feedback, the boundary of the original park area is far from the playground.