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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Missing Maple Ridge man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

Peak on the lower Fraser River expected to arrive Monday

Peak predicted for July 6, with flows decreasing from there: River Forecast Centre

Local property tax late penalties, deadlines different amid pandemic

Province also provides deferrment plan for those who qualify

UPDATE: Missing Chilliwack 35-year-old woman located

The RCMP were asking for the public’s help to find woman not seen in months

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read