An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I HAVE TO AGREE with Mayor Ken Christian when it comes to drinking in public parks.
A handful of B.C. cities are trying it out on a pilot-project basis and, naturally, the question arises whether Kamloops should follow along.
Christian says there’s been no demand for it and is of a mind that there’s no good reason for Kamloops to get involved in figuring out all the challenges of doing it and he’s right.
North Vancouver, Penticton and Port Coquitlam are doing it as a way of creating public spaces where people can imbibe with social distancing and now Vancouver is trying it too.
A staff report to Vancouver City council offered assurances that law enforcement agencies and business groups had been thoroughly consulted. That’s good, but listen to the concerns expressed by those groups.
Says the report: “Those concerns relate to the risks of inadvertently enabling binge drinking in public, supporting a culture of drinking, creating public safety issues by enabling public intoxication, and supporting public gatherings during the COVID pandemic. Staff have worked to create a pilot that mitigates these risks, but they remain.”
But, the report recommended a green light anyway, suggesting that signage and close monitoring would do the trick.
The four sites approved in Vancouver aren’t even parks; they’re existing public plazas. Kamloops doesn’t have much in the way of such spaces, but it doesn’t matter — there’s no reason to consider the concept.
One must ask what the benefits would be, and it’s hard to identify any. Sure, a brewsky might be nice after a swim at the beach but there are other ways of quenching one’s thirst. Why is it that we’re always looking for more ways to consume alcohol?
If it helps, Vernon and Saanich have turned it down. Kamloops, too, will survive without it.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.