The City of Penticton will allow drinking in public spaces. The decision was made Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in a virtual city council meeting. (BC Ale Trail photo)

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

Drinking alcohol in Penticton’s public spaces will be allowed starting, June 3.

During a June 2 meeting, City of Penticton councillors voted to allow the public to drink alcohol in designated areas only.

This one-month pilot project will serve as a test and includes several areas along the Okanagan Lake waterfront.

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project. The motion was finalized with a vote of 4-2, with Couns. Katie Robinson and Judy Sentes opposed.

The pilot project will take place from June 3 to July 4, noon to 8 p.m.

The originally proposed areas allowing consumption of alcohol included from the SS Sicamous, along Okanagan Beach (excluding the walkway) to Rotary Park, including Gyro Park, Okanagan Lake Park and Marina Way Park.

This was later amended to exclude Gyro Park and SS Sicamous Park, and start at Power St. Council also requested weekly updates from staff.

A proposal by Coun. Robinson to postpone the start of the pilot project for two weeks, to allow for more public consultation, was defeated. In debate Coun. Julius Bloomfield opposed to the delay and cited the need to start the pilot project now as well as obtain objective data.

If things go “sideways” and bylaw and RCMP receive more calls, the city’s director of development services Blake Laven explained the council can cancel the pilot.

Mayor of Penticton, John Vassilaki, who owns a local liquor store, excused himself from the discussion due to conflict of interest.

The idea to lift the restrictions on public drinking was first proposed by Coun. Campbell Watt in a previous council meeting.

Watt’s reasoning for the lift on restrictions is to support local breweries, wineries, distilleries and restaurants while also allowing people to enjoy food and drinks in an outdoor setting amid COVID-19 restrictions.

Before voting, councillors discussed the proposal extensively and were divided on the topic. Some highlighted concerns and others noted it as a positive addition to the town.

Some said there is a need to update “archaic” liquor laws and allow people to enjoy a drink on the beach.

Coun. Robinson had several concerns, including that this could result in increased strain on police and bylaw.

Coun. Bloomfield said there has been a generational shift in how people drink, and that the cultural atmosphere is much less problematic. He said he’s willing to give it a try.

Coun. Campbell Watt was in favour of the proposal.

“I think what we have right now is an opportunity to allow responsible adults to be responsible adults,” said Watt.

Coun. Frank Regehr was in favour but highlighted the need to divide the beach into designated drinking, and non-drinking areas.

Coun. Sentes said this is ‘not the time’ to bring this forward, as they already have enough on their plates.

“I don’t think it (alcohol) has a place there (beaches),” she said, suggesting people who want to drink should stick to places that serve it, like restaurants.

Gyro Park was eliminated without much debate as councillors noted it is a place where families gather.

The city received comments in support from residents and the business community but also concerns from the public health perspective by Interior Health, and Pathways, as well as concerns with minors, litter, and addictions.

Beginning June 10, for two weeks, the city will start to obtain public feedback on how the new project is working.

The findings of this public input will be presented to council for a decision on July 7.

Food and Drink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Online sales are beginning to alter the traditional sales practices for real estate developments. (Contributed)
Embracing digital sales tactics in Okanagan housing market

Real estate industry’s resistance to online sales can’t last

Tina Seminara died in hospital following an alleged brutal beating. Her husband Rod Flavell was later charged with manslaughter.
Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Morgues.
Morning Start: Cruise ships have their own morgues

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A rock slide is blocking one lane off the Trans-Canada Highway west of Sicamous. (Cindy Schedlosky/Facebook)
Rock slide closes one lane of Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous

Single-lane alternating traffic is in effect.

(DiStefano Jaud Architecture)
Proposed development on Kelowna farmland raises red flags

Developer proposes gas station, car wash, liquor store, commercial buildings, in agricultural area

Hiawatha RV Park will be demolished starting in February, to make room for a new condo development. Residents have four months to leave. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘I don’t know what to do’; Kelowna RV park resident pleas for eviction extension

Hiawatha RV Park residents have four months to leave the neighbourhood

Titled “Dutch Underground - Laren 1944,” Mineke Spencer’s parents Johanna and Albert Jan Koeslag (centre) sit with their 13 children, who ranged in age from seven (Minike) to 28. Mineke is the little girl with the big white bow in the front, left, beside sister Marie, also with a white bow. (Contributed)
Fearless allies: Shuswap woman reflects on childhood in Dutch Resistance

Mineke Spencer was three-years-old when Germany invaded her home in the Netherlands

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Most Read