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Booze to be allowed in Horseshoe Bay, Whytecliff parks

Coun. Linda Watt said it’s time people in the western areas of the municipality enjoyed the same ability to imbibe in parks as those in the eastern neighbourhoods

Families meeting for the day at Whytecliff Park and travellers waiting for a ferry in Horseshoe Bay Park could soon be able to enjoy a glass or wine or beer as part of their outing.

On Monday, West Vancouver council asked staff to prepare bylaws adding Whytecliff and Horseshoe Bay parks to the list of public spaces where booze should be allowed in the district.

Currently, consumption of alcohol is allowed in Ambleside Landing, Millennium Park, John Lawson Park (excluding the playground) and the western portion of Dundarave Park (excluding the playground) in West Vancouver, as well as in a number of parks in North Vancouver.

The latest change will extend the option for public imbibing to parks in the district’s more westerly regions.

Coun. Linda Watt, who introduced the plan, emphasized “we’re not promoting drinking.”

But she added public boozing is already allowed in the district’s more easterly parks, as well as in many nearby Metro communities. “So, we’re not reinventing the wheel here in West Vancouver,” she said. “I think we’re just getting with the times.”

Coun. Nora Gambioli questioned why both parks should be open for alcohol consumption, adding she wondered if doing so would create additional issues for police in controlling unruly park-goers who over-imbibe.

“I’ve got some concerns around the issue of managing all of it,” she said, adding the public health officer is not in favour of promoting public drinking.

But Watt said it’s not up to council to tell people whether they should or shouldn’t be drinking.

“People consume alcohol in their homes, at parties. They can go to the liquor store and buy it… They go out for dinner in a restaurant. They go to a bar where they might have more than that,” she said.

Coun. Christine Cassidy added it’s more than likely people are drinking alcohol in those parks already.

Mayor Mark Sager said if drinking in those parks turns out to be a problem, “We can always change it back.”