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Booze in Port Moody parks hits a hiccup

Alcohol can now be consumed responsibly by adults in seven public spaces around Port Moody

Port Moody’s new pilot program that started last week allowing the responsible consumption of alcohol in seven public spaces around the city has already hit a hiccup.

A frequent user of Old Orchard Park on Port Moody’s north shore claims discarded bottles and cans, and ambiguous signage, have "ruined" the park's beach where she often swims with an organized group of friends.

Sylvia Swan told the Tri-City News she’s concerned about the safety of children after she discovered several pieces of jagged glass in the sand.

"This is a family beach," Swan said.

"With the booze welcome signs the children can no longer safely make sand castles or catch baby crabs under rocks."

As well, Swan said she saw several people drinking on the secluded beach at the western end of the park, where maps posted by the city on its website indicate alcohol is prohibited.

She believes the placement of signs in the park outlining the new rules is inadequate and can cause confusion.

Anna Mathewson, Port Moody’s general manager of community services, said monitoring by city staff of the various parks, Queens Street Plaza, and the Trasolini Field and Inlet Park spectator stands showed an increase in litter at some of the locations.

She said more recycling carts were placed at each location prior to the pilot program's launch, but the city has requested additional bins from Encorp.

As for the signs, Mathewson explained, according to the bylaw that was approved by city council on July 26, each of the locations where alcohol is now permitted must have at least four signs placed at their boundaries.

She added while there is a sign posted at the path that leads to the small beach, which is protected by trees and shrubs, it doesn’t include a map indicating the boundaries where drinking is allowed.

Mathewson said not all signs the city’s erected have a map, but they do have a QR code that visitors can scan with their smartphone to link directly to the city’s web page with maps and more information about the pilot program.

"Staff will continue to monitor any issues and adjust as needed," she said, adding those changes could include more signs, enhanced waste management or additional monitoring and enforcement.

The pilot program, that runs through until April 2023, allows adults to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly from 11 a.m. until dusk at the following locations:

  • Rocky Point Park
  • Old Orchard Park
  • Pioneer Memorial Park
  • The new Kyle Centre pop-up park, Queens Street plaza
  • Spectator stands at Trasolini field in Town Centre Park, and at Inlet Park

Drinking isn’t allowed within 10 metres of a playground or spray park (except for the picnic shelter at Old Orchard Park), nor within the Labyrinth healing garden at Pioneer Memorial Park.

Port Moody joins Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, as well as several other communities in Metro Vancouver, with allowing the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.