Few hiccups from Penticton's 'beer on the beach' project | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton News

Few hiccups from Penticton's 'beer on the beach' project

Image Credit: PEXELS

It looks like booze on the beach in Penticton could return next summer after a successful pilot project aimed at boosting tourism-related business during the pandemic.

A report on Penticton’s responsible liquor consumption pilot project will come before council at tomorrow’s regular meeting, Nov. 17, along with a recommendation from staff to run the program again next summer.

Alcohol consumption was allowed in early July on Okanagan Lake Beach east of Power Street, Rotary Park, Okanagan Lake Park and Marina Way Park, as well as along the Skaha Lake waterfront between South Beach Drive and Parkview Street, following a successful initial trial period during the month of June.

The pilot project was initiated to help local restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries sell their products in the midst of COVID-19 protocols that severely limited opportunities for customers to eat or drink indoors, allowing them to take their purchases to the beach to enjoy.

The City discovered recycling and garbage facilities were inadequate in the areas where consumption was allowed. It also found more beach clean up was necessary to pick up broken glass and bottles buried in the sand, but overall the program resulted in few negatives.

The City reports no conflicts with intoxicated people but it did come across several instances of people seen drinking outside of designated areas.

Penticton RCMP investigated 80 files specifically related to the public alcohol consumption bylaw, 35 of which were related to liquor consumption in public. Most of the files occurred on Saturdays. Police concluded the bylaw did not result in a significant strain on police resources.

The City is looking at several changes for next year including more signage and education, as the project’s boundary zones were not as clearly defined as they should be, along with more garbage and recycling facilities in the beach areas.

The business community would like to see the project run again next year, but as a pilot again, before any permanent changes are made to the bylaw.

There were two other B.C. municipalities who embarked on similar projects. North Vancouver has decided to continue with its program year round, while Port Coquitlam has yet to report the results of its project.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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