Cracking open a cold beer or popping a wine cork will soon be legally permitted at three public plazas in Vancouver.
On Tuesday, Vancouver city council voted to allow alcohol consumption at three sites — a continuation of a pilot project launched last summer as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited dining capacity at restaurants and bars and limited venues where people can socialize.
The three locations are at:
• Cambie Street and 17th Avenue
• Fraser Street and 27th Avenue
• 800 Robson Street (on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery)
The plazas will open for public drinking on May 31 until Oct. 11 and only between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.
“Based on the success of this pilot in its first year, I hope this project will once again provide business patrons and residents the space to connect and safely socialize with each other, particularly as businesses continue to struggle with reduced dining capacity,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart in a statement.
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A potential site on Maple Street and 4th Avenue was not included in the program due to feedback from emergency services that will require additional review by city staff.
The Cambie plaza is the only returning site from last summer, although BYOB drinking was allowed on the north side of the art gallery last year.
The BYOB public plazas operate with the partnership of two neighbourhood business improvement associations and a restaurant, Say Mercy!
Costs for the BYOB plazas vary by location, but are estimated at about $5,000 excluding staff time. This includes setting up temporary portable washrooms or automated public toilets, waste management, and signs.
Council also approved extending the hours of a parklet at 111 Princess Ave., which supports the Drinker’s Lounge Community Managed Alcohol Program. The parklet will now be open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day until Dec. 31.
— with files from Scott Brown
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