Thursday, October 21, 2021

Responsible Consumption of Liquor in Parks Program a Success

McBurney Plaza

From the beginning of July until the end of September, Langley City piloted a responsible consumption of liquor in parks program.

This pilot program ran between 1 pm and 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays this summer, allowing people to come together with friends and family in McBurney Plaza and within some sections of Douglas Park and City Park to share a drink.

At Monday night's Langley City council meeting, staff presented a report about the pilot program.

The results were positive. Langley City posted a survey to get feedback on people's opinions and experiences around the pilot program. Fifty-four people took part in the survey.

About two-thirds of people who took the survey were supportive of the pilot program, and about three-quarters had "a positive or neutral experience in the designated areas during the pilot program."

Two-thirds of people who took the survey also wanted the City to allow the responsible consumption of liquor in other parks and public spaces.

If the program continues, some other feedback from survey participants includes:

  • Expanding the program days or hours
  • Providing empties bins
  • Providing more bathrooms and more security.

By the numbers, during the first two weekends of operation in July, there were 13 formal complaints about people consuming liquor in unauthorized areas. This dropped to zero for the remaining of the pilot. The largest category of complaints was around smoking which, in my experience, is a common issue in Langley City parks, drinking or no drinking.

People who completed the survey liked the added security in the pilot area. I would imagine people would like this added security regardless of the pilot program.

Overall, the pilot cost was $16,800. Langley City staff will be presenting a next steps report for Council to consider in the new year, which will contain options for continuing the program if Council desires.

I fully support the responsible consumption of liquor in parks program and look forward to it continuing in our community. People were responsible.

For more information about the pilot program, please read the staff report.

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