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It's going to be legal to drink at beaches in Summerland this summer

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People who enjoying sipping on booze at the beaches in Summerland no longer have to break the law.

Council decided to test the waters of responsible liquor consumption during the March 13 regular meeting.

Staff recommended that council allow drinking between noon and 8 p.m. during June, July and August as a pilot project this summer.

Council was informed of similar pilot projects that were tried out in Penticton between 2020 and 2022, before becoming permanent earlier in 2023.

Sally Pierce from the Summerland Chamber of Commerce spoke to council about the idea, and pointed out how helpful it was for Penticton’s breweries and restaurants during the pandemic.

“Penticton has been doing this initiative successfully now for three years,” she said.

READ MORE: B.C. city is making it a ticketable offence to do drugs in public

Summerland council voted unanimously to adopt the idea with Mayor Doug Holmes absent. The public will be allowed to drink at Rotary Park, Peach Orchard Park, and Powell Park – all of which are on Okanagan Lake.

“I’m actually very excited by this opportunity, I think it’s time for our community and time in the world,” Councillor Janet Peake said.

However the 8 p.m. deadline did not seem practical to Councillor Richard Barkwill.

“It’s not like on June 21 – the longest day of the year – 8 p.m. comes along and it’s like “okay let’s put it away now,” he said.

So council agreed to extend the allotted time for drinking on the beach to 9 p.m.

Further up Okanagan Lake – the idea was suggested in West Kelowna in 2021 but it was shut down there. However last month, staff with the City of Kelowna were directed by council to prepare a report on the matter before it considers it. 

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