Langley City council has approved an expansion of a program that allows consumption of liquor in selected parks and facilities.
A report by Chief Administrative Officer Francis Cheung said last year’s pilot, which allowed outdoor drinking in McBurney Lane, Douglas Park and City Park on selected Fridays and Saturdays was “generally successful and supported by the public.”
A previous report found most people surveyed after the pilot ended, about two-thirds, supported the program. Some wanted additional days.
Cheung said opponents of the practice cited “drunkenness, dangerous behaviour, crude language, smoking marijuana, and vaping” but a record of complaints found most were not related to unruly behaviour due to drinking, “but for smoking, leashes on dogs, loitering, drug dealing, overnight camping, and after-dark loud partying.”
At their Monday, March 7, meeting City council approved a second year of the program, with Sundays added.
Councillor Rosemary Wallace was the lone vote against, saying if Douglas Park had been taken off the list of venues, she might have supported it.
“I’m having a really hard time with this,” Wallace told council.
“There’s just too many [people with] vulnerabilities down in this park, down in this area,” Wallace argued.
“I just hate to see that trigger for people that are just on the edge of addiction. My conscience just can’t accept this, at this time.”
This year, the program will run every Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., and every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. beginning July 1, 2022 and ending Sept. 30, 2022. 2. .
Estimated cost is $20,000, for garbage pickup, security services and signage, but there will be no portable toilets this time.
In response to a question by Coun. Nathan Pachal, Cheung advised the toilets weren’t really used “at all” and were “vandalized quite a bit.”
Cheung noted there are available public washrooms in recreational facilities near all three locations.