Kelowna pilot program allowing consumption of alcohol at three parks begins today

Booze now OK in 3 parks

Beginning at noon today you won't have to be sneaky if you want to have a drink at one of three waterfront parks in Kelowna.

The city is kicking off a three month pilot program that will make it legal for people to consume alcohol at Waterfront Park and Tugboat Beach, Kinsman Park and Boyce Gyro Park through Oct. 6.

The city is running the program on a trial basis with an eye on making it permanent if it's successful.

While consumption of alcohol will be allowed at each of the three parks the city has imposed some restrictions.

Glass containers of any type—whether it's glasses or wine or spirit bottles—will not be permitted.

Some areas will also be off limits including the playground and sports courts at Kinsman Park, the playground and zipline at Gyro, all parking lots and within 15 metres of any residence.

The cutoff is 9 p.m.

The three parks were specifically selected based on having good sightlines and access for bylaw and police, availability of washrooms, trash cans and picnic areas, easily accessible by transit, parks with regular maintenance and inspection and those close to residential areas giving residents an opportunity to socialize outdoors.

The city initiated the trial at the request of Mayor Tom Dyas following meetings with the RCMP, city bylaw and staff.

It came just days after the City of Penticton made permanent a pilot project initiated in 2020 which allowed for the consumption of alcohol in select areas along Okanagan and Skaha lakefronts.

Other cities including Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam have enacted similar bylaws over the past few years.

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