Drinking outdoors will be allowed in Langley City at three designated locations for two days a week beginning July 1.
City Council gave final approval to the pilot project at their Monday, June 14 meeting, allowing consumption of liquor in selected parks and facilities on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. beginning July 1 and ending on Sep. 30.
Selected sites for the Langley City pilot will be McBurney Plaza, parts of Douglas Park, and picnic shelters at City Park.
Maps showing the borders of the “alcohol allowed zones” will be posted.
Coun. Rosemary Wallace tried to convince council to end the three-month trial a month earlier than planned, in August, in order to avoid possible issues with students returning to full-time classes in September.
“I just feel that two months is a good trial,” Wallace argued, calling it a “safety” issue because drinking will be allowed in proximity to Douglas Park Community School and the Boys and Girls’ club .
Her proposal was defeated on a tie vote, with Wallace, Coun. Rudy Storteboom and mayor Val van den Broek supporting the earlier end date, and Couns. Nathan Pachal, Paul Albrecht and Gayle Martin favouring September.
Coun. Pachal thought the designated sites were “far away enough” from schools.
“I don’t think folks will be that exposed,” Pachal commented.
Coun. Albrecht said he had no problem with September.
“I think this is a pilot project,” Albrecht remarked.”I think we need to give it the appropriate time and opportunity. If bad behaviour starts happening we can always just shut it down without a whole lot of notice.”
Afterwards, Wallace told the Langley Advance Times that she was “okay with” the idea of allowing outdoor alcohol consumption, but was responding to concerns that have been raised by residents, both in conversations with her as well online postings.
A staff report to council noted a number of municipalities in Metro Vancouver have introduced bylaws that permit consumption of liquor in selected parks, and the feedback from these communities has been positive.
An on-line survey will be carried out during the pilot program to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the pilot program.
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