Skip to content

EDITORIAL: A change in attitudes about alcohol

Pilot project allows alcohol on Summerland beaches.
(Black Press file photo)

Following the lead of Penticton, Summerland has approved a pilot project, allowing responsible liquor consumption at three of the community’s beaches.

The pilot project will allow people to consume alcohol on the beaches in June, July and August. Summerland’s municipal council may choose to revisit the program at any time.

READ ALSO: Pilot program allows alcohol on 3 Summerland beaches

READ ALSO: Penticton council gives support to beach booze law

The pilot project puts Summerland in the company of a number of other British Columbia communities where responsible consumption of alcohol is allowed in certain public areas.

In addition to Penticton, Coquitlam and North Vancouver already have such policies in place. Other communities in the Southern Interior of British Columbia are considering similar policies.

What happens this summer will determine if the policy will result in a bylaw change in Summerland, and may affect the decisions made in other parts of the province.

The pilot projects and policy changes surrounding alcohol consumption can be seen as part of an important shift in attitudes and social norms.

Around a century ago, in the early 1920s, the sale of alcohol was not permitted in most parts of Canada. Nova Scotia kept this prohibition in place until 1930 and Prince Edward Island did not allow alcohol sales until 1948. In addition, some communities had their own laws banning the sale of alcohol well after provincial prohibition had ended. Some larger communities in Manitoba did not permit alcohol sales until the last two decades.

At the same time, it could be argued that Summerland’s pilot project will have little effect. Some have already been having beer or wine on the beaches, despite regulations prohibiting consumption in public places. For them, the regulation change simply means they do not have to hide the beverages.

Still, the pilot project is a way of acknowledging the changes surrounding alcohol over the past few decades.

Today, wine, craft beer and craft cider production are significant industries in the Okanagan Valley and other parts of the province. The regulations governing alcohol consumption need to reflect our present attitudes, standards and culture.

— Black Press

To report a typo, email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.