You can now legally drink in these Kelowna parks

Here’s what you need to know about the new rules

It is now legal to drink alcohol in some Kelowna parks this summer.

As part of a pilot project, city lawmakers have approved three parks - Waterfront and Tugboat Beach, Kinsman and Boyce Gyro Park – to be part of a seasonal test.

From July 4 to Oct. 6, it will be legal to consume alcohol in those parks from noon to 9 p.m.

However, you can't drink within 15 m of a playground, on sport courts or fields, a zipline, in a parking lot, in the water, or on piers and boardwalks without railings.

Signs will be posted with the rules and to provide contact information for bylaw officers.

Council spared over several aspects of the bylaw, such as staff suggestions to have the rules set aside on long weekends as not to tax stretched law enforcement resources, and whether to allow glass.

“I think it is going to be more of an enforcement problem for our already stretched this staff if we try and exclude long weekends,” Coun. Gord Lovegrove said. “If we leave them in, it becomes a complaint driven enforcement.”

In the end, councillors opted to outlaw glass and not reimpose prohibition on long weekends.

Lawmakers also raised concerns around recycling and garbage accumulation in these parks, particularly Coun. Loyal Wooldridge. These issues are anticipated to be debated next week to allow city staff to come up with a more robust plan for waste collection and overflowing bins.

The project was spurred on by Mayor Tom Dyas, who broached the subject earlier this year after Penticton made the practice permanent.

Penticton is among five cities that currently allow alcohol consumption in parks, alongside Vancouver, North Van, Port Coquitlam, and Coquitlam.

Kelowna bureaucrats turned to Penticton for guidance. The southern Okanagan city ran a three-year test to gather information. It now allows drinking in five parks from noon to 9 p.m.

RCMP and bylaw enforcement there said the new rules had little impact on calls.

Published 2023-06-07 by Tyler Marr

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