Council is considering measures that would allow the consumption of alcohol on the White Rock Promenade as a means of boosting business for restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tracy Holmes/ Black Press Media file photo)

White Rock council considers allowing alcohol in waterfront park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

White Rock council is considering allowing alcohol consumption in Memorial Park plaza (at the waterfront), and also installing temporary picnic benches in the park and other locations in the city – both as measures to help local businesses survive a pandemic-constricted summer.

But at the June 1 special meeting, council asked staff for more specific details before approving either suggestion – partly at the urging of Coun. Dave Chesney, who expressed “very grave concerns” about how such moves could be properly policed.

Council ultimately approved preparation of a bylaw setting out conditions under which liquor consumption would be allowed at Memorial Park plaza, but also a motion from Chesney that called for a full staff report before endorsing the use of some $10,000 in city funds for picnic benches.

The measures were submitted by staff for council direction in response to a letter from White Rock BIA executive director Alex Nixon requesting outdoor liquor consumption areas to augment existing patios in a period in which most businesses have transitioned to primarily take-out service.

“Designating public spaces where alcohol could be consumed would allow customers to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with their take-out, thus increasing the effective potential revenues of the restaurants,” Nixon wrote.

“Designating public spaces would in no way change the laws around public intoxication or the bylaws around noise and public space schedules,” he added.

“All it would do is make it legal for customers enjoy an alcoholic beverage in, say, Memorial Park in the same way that they would across the street on the patio of, say, Uli’s Restaurant or Charlie Don’t Surf.”

READ ALSO: Surrey council gives OK for barber shop to serve booze

But while council members said they were generally in favour of the measures, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, most shared concerns voiced by Chesney about drafting a bylaw to allow liquor consumption in Memorial Park.

“This has been a party destination since the beginning of time,” Chesney said. “There are so many ramifications…we need to have checks and balances, I don’t think we can put enough checks and balances in place.

“I, certainly, would advocate that the sensible consumption of alcohol, by adults, is fine. But looking at the history of White Rock, it’s a party town, it’s a party destination. Take a look at what happens on the weekend. If we tell anybody over 19 years of age just bring your case of Budweiser down, come on and party on the beach…oh, my God, the mess we’re going to have.”

READ ALSO: B.C. to allow restaurants to hire laid-off servers to deliver alcohol

Council members also echoed concerns from Chesney that a suggestion of authorizing a $10,000 contribution from the city to a joint project with the BIA to provide picnic benches at Memorial Park, on East Beach and at Five Corners had come prematurely, without details of cost, design or placement.

Coun. Helen Fathers noted that the measures had been submitted to council as ‘on the table’ additions to the agenda, without chance for prior reading.

She was among those who wanted more specifics, particularly after council heard from planning and development services director Carl Isaak and engineering and operations director Jim Gordon that staff were contemplating ordering heavy six-foot cedar benches with an expected life of two to three years.

“How long are they going to be there?” Fathers asked, noting that while the ‘hard-scape’ area of Memorial Park suggested for the benches may be underused at present, it is also “city programmable space” for future events.

Other discussion by council revolved around whether potential signage could legitimately suggest that benches were for restaurant patrons only, with most agreeing that, if provided, the seating would have to be open to use by all members of the public.



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alcohol ServersCoronaviruswhite rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Iconic Chilliwack store passes clothing racks on to downtown neighbours

Chilliwack Mission Thriftstore given racks and fixtures as downtown store closes for good

Overnight closures for Vedder dike gates this summer rather than full closure

Working with anti-dumping and angling advocates, City of Chilliwack came up with compromise

Fiscal statement from the feds lacked clear plan for economic recovery: MP Strahl

While Conservatives backed emergency supports, it’s now time for ‘transparent plan to guide recovery’

Ride for cancer in Langley will take place Sunday, despite COVID-19

Annual fundraiser will be ‘really different,’ but classic cars are expected, organizer promises

Vancouver double homicide leads to arrest in Harrison Hot Springs Wednesday

VPD and RCMP tracked dumped vehicle connected to killings to Chilliwack

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Surrey officer-impersonation scam continues ‘almost daily’

Police reiterate warning that demands for Bitcoin in exchange for waived charges are fraudulent

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Woman who talked to unconscious husband for 30 years gets solace from B.C. study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

Most Read