With files from Shelby Thom
Would you be interested in buying beer, wine, or cocktails at a concession stand at one of Vancouver’s beaches?
That’s one of the questions the public is being asked as the city launches a review of its seaside food service options.
The Park Board has hired a consultant to review the operations of its 12 concessions which operate from April to October, and one concession in Stanley Park that’s open year-round.
It’s also created a survey to ask the public to weigh in on potential changes, with one question asking “if provided in a responsible manner, do you agree or disagree with the sale of alcoholic beverages at Vancouver Beach Parks concessions?”
That question is preceded by a poll of potential menu changes, including beer, wine, and cocktail service:
The survey also asks respondents how often they use the city’s beach concessions, along with floating ideas like table service, fine dining options, and the conversion of some concessions to cafes.
Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung says while booze is a part of the survey, the priority is on facilities and food options.
“Not because the park board necessarily wants to move forward at this time, but we’re doing a broad survey and we want to make sure we’ve got good information and we’re keeping tabs of how public opinion may or may not be changing.”
But she’s not ruling liquor out either.
“But if we hear loud and clear that people are interested in us taking a look at it, that might be something in the future that the board may decide to take a look at.”
She says while she doesn’t want to speak before results are in, it doesn’t seem likely that booze will end up on beaches by this summer.
The consultant’s recommendations will be presented to the board by the end of June.
LISTEN: Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung explains the survey
Last month, the City of Vancouver launched another survey asking residents about changes to where and when liquor is served, including questions on patios, farmer’s markets, and hair salons. It says it’s received about 9,200 replies to that initiative, with staff to report “liquor policy options” later this year.
Back in March, as a part of its broader liquor policy reforms, the province reached out to BC municipalities to poll them on rules around drinking in public – either in the form of picnickers in parks, or in a specially designated area like the Granville Entertainment District.
That’s because B.C.’s Liquor Control and Licensing Act actually contains a rarely used provision that allows municipalities to designate “a public beach, public park or public campground” as “as a place where liquor may be consumed.”
Last February, the Park Board voted to expand licensed alcohol service areas in parks and beaches for some of the city’s biggest summer events, including the Celebration of Light fireworks display.