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Booze on the beach rejected by Vernon city council

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
June 22, 2020 - 2:14 PM

Vernon residents won't get the chance to legally drink booze on the beach after city council voted against the proposal.

Unanimously, and without any debate, council voted today, June 22, against allowing public alcohol consumption in public.

Councillor Scott Anderson, who put forward the original idea, told council he accepted the advice from RCMP not to allow public drinking, but may bring the idea back to the table in the future.

Council was given the opportunity to specify which parks and beaches, and what times alcohol could be consumed, but rejected the proposal.

The idea to allow alcohol to be consumed in public was put forward by Anderson, May 25, as other cities across the province toyed with the idea as a way to help struggling food and drink industry affected by pandemic restrictions.

The City of Penticton fast-tracked the change and on Jun, 3 passed a temporary bylaw allowing alcohol to be consumed on certain public beaches for a one-month trial period. The City of North Vancouver is also allowing people to drink in certain public places on a trial basis until the fall.

A report to council cites concerns from Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher. In the report Bahner states concerns about exposure of young people to negative behaviours in the public, such as intoxication, disturbances or public urination as well as an increase in loitering, noise, inappropriate behaviour and impaired driving.

The City's top cop also says it would be difficult to enforce responsible consumption in public places, compared to licensed establishments.

The report also includes comments from Interior Health Authority medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema which states that permitting alcohol consumption in designated public spaces may increase the harms associated with alcohol.

"Such a policy sends a message that normalizes alcohol drinking and promotes a culture of alcohol consumption," Mema says in the report.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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