There were no problems reported after City of Chilliwack allowed alcohol consumption in two parks, Vedder Park and Crossing Park, as a pilot project last summer.
With that in mind, council approved a bylaw May 4 that will permit the consumption of liquor in Vedder Park in two designated locations from June to October.
Operations department officials said the pilot project in 2020 “went better than expected” from an operational point of view, noting there were no issues reported by security patrols. There was even less garbage than expected, with no large groups, and no vandalism, according to the staff report.
Coun. Jeff Shields commented before the vote that they “were lucky and there were no issues.”
But he wanted to know if council would be able to effectively shut down this option in future, if need be.
Mayor Ken Popove replied that if that was the case, it would have to come back to the council table for a vote.
“But council does have the power to do that,” he confirmed.
Coun. Harv Westeringh said with “over 80 per cent” approval as evidenced by the post-project survey results, and no significant issues reported, no glass allowed, and if it continues that way, he fully supports it.
The pilot began in 2020 as a city initiative to “further opportunities for social connections” while complying with provincial health orders, according the staff report contained in the May 4 council agenda package.
“Due to the provincial health guidelines still being in effect and 81 per cent of respondents being in favour of seeing a similar project again this year, staff are recommending another season, from June 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021, to allow for the consumption of liquor.”
Crossing Park however, will not be included going forward due to low use for that location during the pilot, which will mean lower costs of the project for this year. The only designated locations are in Vedder Park on Petawawa Street, on either side of the main parking area.
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