A pilot project testing the allowance of alcohol in designated public areas received strong support from Penticton residents.
City of Penticton council will face a decision Tuesday (July 7) on whether to continue allowing the public consumption of alcohol in designated areas.
A report which will be presented to council Tuesday recommends continuing to allow it until at least the fall. This is based off of information gathered by the city during a one-month pilot project which ran from June 3 to July 4.
The city’s director of development services, Blake Laven, explained in a release Friday that the pilot project received enough support from the community to recommend continuing the implementation of the new bylaw.
More than 1,200 citizens completed an online survey, showing that 71 per cent of the population either strongly (42 per cent) or somewhat (29 per cent) support allowing consumption in designated public spaces.
The survey also showed that those who support the bylaw also supported the tested locations.
Okanagan Lake Park and Okanagan Beach were selected as the two most popular areas to allow consumption. Twenty-five per cent suggested the bylaw should include Skaha Lake Park.
Thirteen per cent strongly oppose allowing consumption in public spaces, and 17 per cent either somewhat oppose it, or are neutral.
Those opposed to it expressed concern about enforcement, glass on the beach, underage drinking, allowing alcohol in a family setting, and also questioned if this initiative would support local businesses.
“If council agrees with the recommendation, the city will continue to consult with groups who may be affected and look at making any additional adjustments as part of a final review this fall,” he said.
In the past month, RCMP and bylaw have reported a few incidents in relation to the new allowance, but indicated the types of calls received are “not uncommon” and “may or may not” be associated with the pilot project.
City parks staff observed no additional need for maintenance or care in the new allowed drinking locations. They also did not observe any changes to waste or recycling.
A copy of the findings of the pilot project, a summary of the survey results, the complete survey responses, as well as copies of correspondence received, are all available for the public to view at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.