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Could public drinking be allowed in Vancouver?

The provincial government is discretely floating the idea of allowing public comsumption of alcohol in specific locations, according to a report in the Vancouver Sun.

Earlier in March, municipalities across the province were asked for feedback on a little known provision of B.C.'s liquor law allowing the designation of special public spaces where liquor can be consumed.

On the books since the 1970's, the provision has apparetnly never been used.  But momentum is gathering.  Any change would bring to an end of long standing policy of strictly prohibiting public consumption of alcohol.  Though it's not uncommon to see 'brown-baggers' at the beaches during the summer months, anyone who consumes alcohol in public is technically breaking the law and could be ticketed.

The province has outlined 2 possible scenarios for public drinking.  The 1st calls for the designation fo certain public parks a zones where alcohol consumption would be permitted.  These kind of open-container parks are commonplace across Europe and also in certain North American municipalities, including San Francisco and in Quebec.

The 2nd scenario would see an entire street sanctioned as a drinking zone. similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans or popular party strips in Europe.  In Vancouver, the most likely candidate would be Granville Street, with its high density of bars and clubs.  The street is already cordoned off to vehicle traffic on many weekends and has a festival-like atmosphere on busy nights. 

A new policy such as this could potentially boost tourism and also free Vancouverites from having to sneak a sip of wine on summer picnics. Opponents point out that excessive drinking could lead to rowdiness in parks and that public drinking is already a known nuisance in spots across the city.

Personally I would look forward to enjoying a nice glass of wine while watching the sun go down at Kits beach.  Sounds very civilized!  What are your thoughts?

Photo credit: Duncan Rawlinson - Duncan.co - @thelastminute | Flickr

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