Council is considering measures that would allow the consumption of alcohol on the White Rock Promenade as a means of boosting business for restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tracy Holmes/ Black Press Media file photo)

Liquor permission considered for White Rock’s Memorial Park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

While White Rock council considers allowing alcohol consumption in Memorial Park plaza (at the waterfront), it has agreed to the installation of picnic benches in the park and other locations in the city – both as measures to help local businesses survive a pandemic-constricted summer.

At the June 1 special meeting, council asked staff for more specific details before approving either suggestion – partly at the urging of Coun. Dave Chesney, who expressed “very grave concerns” about how such moves could be properly policed.

Council ultimately approved preparation of a bylaw setting out conditions under which liquor consumption would be allowed at Memorial Park plaza, but also a motion from Chesney that called for a full staff report before endorsing the use of some $10,000 in city funds for picnic benches.

Council subsequently voted June 8 to buy picnic tables and place them in Memorial Park on the West Beach, on Marine Drive, near Ash Street, on the East Beach and in the Five Corners area.

The cedar picnic tables will cost $12,500 for 15 to 20 tables. The city is contributing $10,000 and the White Rock BIA, $2,500. The tables will be placed more than two metres apart with space to ensure physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures were submitted by staff for council direction in response to a letter from White Rock BIA executive director Alex Nixon requesting outdoor liquor consumption areas to augment existing patios in a period in which most businesses have transitioned to primarily take-out service.

“Designating public spaces where alcohol could be consumed would allow customers to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with their take-out, thus increasing the effective potential revenues of the restaurants,” Nixon wrote.

“Designating public spaces would in no way change the laws around public intoxication or the bylaws around noise and public space schedules,” he added.

“All it would do is make it legal for customers enjoy an alcoholic beverage in, say, Memorial Park in the same way that they would across the street on the patio of, say, Uli’s Restaurant or Charlie Don’t Surf.”

READ ALSO: Surrey council gives OK for barber shop to serve booze

But while council members said they were generally in favour of the measures, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis, most shared concerns voiced by Chesney about drafting a bylaw to allow liquor consumption in Memorial Park.

“This has been a party destination since the beginning of time,” Chesney said. “There are so many ramifications…we need to have checks and balances, I don’t think we can put enough checks and balances in place.

“I, certainly, would advocate that the sensible consumption of alcohol, by adults, is fine. But looking at the history of White Rock, it’s a party town, it’s a party destination. Take a look at what happens on the weekend. If we tell anybody over 19 years of age just bring your case of Budweiser down, come on and party on the beach…oh, my God, the mess we’re going to have.”

READ ALSO: B.C. to allow restaurants to hire laid-off servers to deliver alcohol

Prior to the June 8 vote, council members echoed concerns from Chesney that a suggestion of authorizing a $10,000 contribution from the city to a joint project with the BIA to provide picnic benches at Memorial Park, on East Beach and at Five Corners had come prematurely, without details of cost, design or placement.

Coun. Helen Fathers noted that the measures had been submitted to council as ‘on the table’ additions to the agenda, without chance for prior reading.

She was among those who wanted more specifics, particularly after council heard from planning and development services director Carl Isaak and engineering and operations director Jim Gordon that staff were contemplating ordering heavy six-foot cedar benches with an expected life of two to three years.

“How long are they going to be there?” Fathers asked, noting that while the ‘hard-scape’ area of Memorial Park suggested for the benches may be underused at present, it is also “city programmable space” for future events.

Other discussion by council revolved around whether potential signage could legitimately suggest that benches were for restaurant patrons only, with most agreeing that, if provided, the seating would have to be open to use by all members of the public.



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Alcohol ServersCoronavirusWhite Rock

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

BREAKING: Cloverdale McDonald’s employee tests positive for COVID-19

McDonald’s Canada immediately shut down the restaurant

Southridge students raise $5,600 for hospital meal program

GoFundMe campaign funds two months of meals at Peace Arch Hospital

Surrey kids get cooking during free SuperChefs camps pushed online by pandemic

‘Enthusiastic’ launch of program, which sees ingredient pickup at one local school

Court awards woman $143K for two Whalley rear-ender crashes, one by a bus

In both cases, Brigitte Bergeron’s vehicle was hit from behind while stopped at an intersection

Surrey RCMP searching for missing woman last seen in Crescent Beach

Milcah Kasomali-Chirumbwana last seen at 4:35 p.m. July 5 in the 12300-block of Beecher Street

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Abbotsford school vice-principal accused of getting Instagram ‘confessions’ page shut down

@A.S.S.S.Confessions page claims school officials contacted families to find out person behind page

Recreational chinook openings leave First Nations frustrated on the Lower Fraser

Limited recreational openings for chinook on the Chehalis and Chilliwack rivers being questioned

Most Read