A pilot project to allow alcohol consumption in Port Coquitlam parks has received a cautious nod from residents, with some even taking advantage of the new initiative that started late last month.
So far there has only been only one complaint of loud music and a drinking game at Gates Park on the weekend, but no other concerns, according to Coquitlam RCMP and city bylaw officers.
“It’s definitely something we are keeping an eye on,” said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin, spokesperson for the Coquitlam RCMP, “We are aware of the legislative changes.”
On the weekend, city bylaw officers visited parks and, other than shutting down the noisy party at Gates, said there was no trouble.
“There were two bylaw officers working Saturday and one on Sunday. We had one complaint come in Saturday regarding drinking games and loud music in Gates Park which was addressed right away with a verbal warning and the group complying,” stated bylaw services manager Paula Jones in an email.
She said officers typically visit Gates and Lions Park twice a day, with other parks visited once a day.
With regulatory changes made to permit a four-month pilot project, people are now allowed to consume liquor at Castle, a portion of Settlers, Gates, Lions, Aggie, Evergreen and Cedar Drive parks until Oct. 31.
Signs are posted letting residents know of the pilot and residents the Tri-City News spoke to said they were OK with alcohol in their neighbourhood park as long as people aren’t rowdy.
“As long as people are here to have a glass of wine with a picnic, it’s fine,” said Laura Santoro, who added in Italy where she grew up it was common for people to have some wine during a picnic on the beach. “However, if people abuse it, it’s wrong.”
At Settlers Park, Anita Nicola said she and a girlfriend met to share snacks and have a glass of wine as a way to decompress and enjoy some quiet time safely outdoors.
“I think it’s a nice option during COVD-19.”
The public is encouraged to provide feedback about the pilot at portcoquitlam.ca/alcoholpilot.