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OUR VIEW: Sober reflection needed about drinking in parks

Fraser Health cautioned Metro Vancouver Regional District about setting up a pilot project to permit drinking alcohol in six of its parks
Empty beer can on a trail. (Facebook image)

Drinking alcohol is prohibited in City of Surrey Parks. Is it such a bad thing?

We already have people hooting on crack pipes in public places, and sticking needles in their arms.

In many parts of the world, walking around with a beer in hand, or enjoying a glass of wine during a picnic in a park, is no big thing at all. But in this neck of the woods, we’ve had storefront-smashing, car-flipping riots over hockey, of all things.

Are most people sufficiently civilized here to be able to have a responsible brew in a park without eventually stumbling into other park-goers potato salads like giant drunken ants, leaving empty bottles and cans in their wake?

We shall soon find out.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is setting up a pilot project to allow the consumption of alcohol this year, from June 28 to Oct. 14 — at Boundary Bay’s Centennial Beach, Campbell Valley at the 8th Avenue picnic area, Capilano River at the Cleveland Dam picnic area, Derby Reach at Edgewater Bar campground’s day use area, the Iona Beach picnic area and Brunette Fraser Greenway at Sapperton Landing — after which time the bureaucrats will report back to the politicians on how things went.

Let’s hope the yahoos among us don’t wreck it for everyone else by responding to an opportunity to be treated like adults with disorderly conduct.

Several cities in the Metro Region, Vancouver for one, have permitted drinking alcohol in select parks.

Worthy of note, many people’s behaviour has been less than optimum in the wake of the pandemic, with vandalism and assaults becoming more commonplace.

Most worthy of note is the opposition from Fraser Health, registered by three medical health officers in a letter to the Metro Vancouver Regional District Regional Parks Committee, strongly cautioning against the approval of this pilot project “in the interest of public health and safety.” Drownings, violence, impaired driving, and enabling underage drinking are some concerns raised, not to mention that Centennial Beach has no lifeguard and Derby Reach and Campbell Valley Regional Parks are “not accessible by public transit and are essentially car-access only.”

That definitely gives cause for sober reflection.