Just when we thought gears had ground to a halt in the old ‘public drinking in Vancouver’ department, a BC MLA has stoked the fire and given us hope! On Thursday, Niki Sharma, who is the MLA for Vancouver-Hastings, announced that the province will be changing provincial law soon, giving the Vancouver Park Board the autonomy to allow public drinking. Yeah, it’s confusing, we know. Here’s a quick explanation.
There was a big hullabaloo last summer, because the Vancouver Park Board voted to allow a public drinking pilot project in over 20 Vancouver parks. However, that never actually became a reality, due to the division of power between the Park Board and the City of Vancouver. Basically, the BC Government needs to grant the Park Board the power themselves, instead of the city being able to do it.
We are changing the rules so that alcohol can be permitted in designated areas in Vancouver Parks! 🍻 🥂 🍷 @ParkBoard will have to power to designate areas.
— Niki Sharma (she/her) (@NikiSharma2) April 29, 2021
Which is why North Vancouver and other Metro Vancouver municipalities were able to say “Yeah, sure, let’s try it out” and get things up and rolling in a matter of weeks. Those have proven to be roaring successes, by the way, with all of them returning this summer.
Now, this might be a lot to talk about based on a single tweet. But, since the provincial government is NDP-controlled, we doubt that an NDP MLA would make a claim like this without things more or less being set in stone. Looks like the ball is heading back to your side of the court, Vancouver Park Board. We expect big things.
Plus, it’s nice to see that the province is getting around to changing the rules so that the Park Board can actually make the call. Which, for reference, has taken some 8 or so months to happen. But hey, at least it will hopefully be in place by this summer!