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Pilot program allows alcohol on 3 Summerland beaches

Council gives unanimous approval to concept
A pilot project will allow for responsible alcohol consumption at three beaches in Summerland in the summer of 2023. (Summerland Review file photo)

Summerland will allow liquor consumption at three beaches in the community this summer.

On March 13, the Summerland Chamber of Commerce requested a responsible liquor consumption pilot project for the coming year.

The project is modelled after a similar project was implemented in Penticton in 2020 which has since become permanent.

READ ALSO: Penticton council gives support to beach booze law

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Sally Pierce of the Summerland Chamber said the Penticton program has worked well and has gained national attention for the city. She said there were no reports of conflicts in the parks as a result of intoxicated people in the parks.

The Summerland pilot project allows for liquor consumption at Rotary Beach, Peach Orchard Park and Powell Beach in June, July and August, from noon until 9 p.m. The program will be evaluated monthly and can be ceased at any time.

Neither the RCMP nor the municipality’s bylaw enforcement department has raised any major concerns about this concept, Lori Mullin, director of community services, said in a report to the council.

She said since this is a pilot project, the bylaw would not be changed at present.

Bottleneck Drive, the association made up of 15 wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries in Summerland, also endorsed the concept.

“We believe there are strong track records of these policies working, including Coquitlam, North Vancouver and of course our neighbours in Penticton,” a letter from the organization read. “For those same reasons, we believe offering the same access and enjoyment on our beautiful beaches gives people an extra reason to stay in Summerland to enjoy our products, rather than opting to sit on a beach in Penticton instead.“

Coun. Janet Peake and Coun. Marty Van Alphen both said the pilot project is long overdue for the community.

Others on council also supported the concept.

“I believe this is already happening on our beaches. It’s just well hidden,“ said Coun. Doug Patan.

The motion was carried unanimously.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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