Popular sunset viewpoint 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 signs are 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 mansion.

The park is a regular gathering spot for evening picnickers 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 to the south at Tatlow Park — across the road — and adjacent to a children’s playground.

In a statement, the parks board said there are 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,” the parks board said.


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Signs at the park ask users not to bring alcohol within 20 metres of a playground, to avoid large gatherings and practise 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 lockdowns, when drinkers were not allowed into bars.

Unlike many of the other 21 public parks in the 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 northeast corner and a row of trees accessible, while David Lam Park in Yaletown has set aside a strip along the waterfront, and only the north tip of Kitsilano Beach Park is open to drinking.


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Sgt. Steve Addison of the Vancouver Police Department 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 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 a 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.

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


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