Penticton council votes to make open alcohol on city beaches legal permanently

Booze on beach permanent

A pilot project allowing alcohol consumption on Penticton beaches has been made permanent.

In the summer of 2020, council passed an initiative allowing open alcohol in select areas along Okanagan and Skaha lakefronts. It was initially intended to support local restaurants and breweries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and allow for safe family gatherings outdoors.

The program has since been a success, with few negative incidences, according to City of Penticton staff.

Rather than renewing the bylaw every year, city staff recommended to council on Tuesday that the program be made permanent, and the areas that allow responsible open alcohol use be extended.

"I think if if we're going to do it, you might as well do the whole beach because everybody considers a whole beach in the area," said director of development services Blake Laven.

Staff also recommended extending the end time for the alcohol use from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The bylaw allows consumption to begin at 12 p.m.

"The proposed changes are based on the experience during the pilot years," Laven said.

RCMP and the city bylaw office were both in favour of the program continuing.

Council voted unanimously in favour of the motion, which will be formally adopted at a later meeting.

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