Popular sunset view point in Vancouver now open to public drinking, with no toilets in place

Nearest public toilet to alcohol-friendly Volunteer Park is adjacent to a children’s playground.

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Alcohol in Parks Pilot signage is up at one of Vancouver’s most beloved sunset view parks, with no plans in place for needed washroom breaks.

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Volunteer Park is on Point Grey Road just west of the bottom of Macdonald Street in Kitsilano – opposite the home of a former B.C. premier and a few hundred metres east of Chip Wilson’s manse.

The park is a regular gathering spot for evening picnicers as it offers stunning sunset views and leads to Volunteer Beach – giving the same view as the Point Grey Road waterfront residents.

However, the nearest washroom is several hundred metres away south at Tatlow Park – across the road – and adjacent to a children’s playground.

In a prepared statement, the parks board said there were no plans to install portable toilets at Volunteer Park.

“We carefully monitor and identify needs for each site through feedback from our staff, partners and the public,” parks board said.

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Signage at the park asks users not to bring alcohol within 20 metres of a playground, to avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing of two metres between groups.

The Alcohol in Parks Pilot began in 22 parks across the city on July 12 and runs until Oct. 11. The project stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic – when drinkers were not allowed in to bars.

Unlike many of the other 21 public parks in park board’s drinking pilot, almost all of Volunteer Park has been set aside for drinking alcohol between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Collingwood Park in Renfrew Heights has just the north-east corner and a row of trees accessible, while David Lam Park in Yaletown has set aside a strip along the waterfront and just the north tip of Kitsilano Beach Park is open to drinking.

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Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said most of the recent challenges with public drinking had occurred outside the pilot parks.

“The majority of the challenges we’re facing involve people drinking alcohol in places that are not designated parks – places like beaches and in the entertainment districts,” Addison said in a prepared statement.

“This has led to a significant amount of street disorder. We continue to encourage people to research where open alcohol is permitted, and to understand that they could be ticketed if they are drinking outside the designated places and times.”

Two months ago the owner of the newly-built home adjacent to the park and Volunteer Beach was forced to take down a spotlight on the beach that was triggered by people walking past or partying at night.

Parks board said it wants public input during the trial submitted by calling 311 or through its website.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com

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