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VIDEO: The case against alcohol on beaches

Kelowna's experiment with permitting alcohol at three waterfront parks appears to have been an unqualified success.

Despite that, one council member voted against the move to expand the bylaw to include eight beach parks.

Councillor Gord Lovegrove voted in favour of the pilot project last year, but now he finds the whole thing hard to swallow.

"I don't mean to be a fuddy-duddy about this," said Lovegrove in an interview at Strathcona Park.

But he points to the position taken by the World Health Organization that says there is no safe amount of alcohol.

And the reasons to permit its use in outdoor settings, brought about by COVID, no longer apply.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"This came about because of COVID and people's need for outside distancing," he said.

"The pandemic is over."

And he questions whether giving it the nod in such public places sends the right message.

"Is it safe for youth to normalize its use?" he asks.

"Impressionable young people coming to a beach, seeing people drinking alcohol, what are they going to think about this?"

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who>

Lovegrove also makes the point that freeing people to drink their alcohol in parks will hurt businesses in the community.

"Businesses are still recovering from COVID. They need all the help they can get," he said.

And then there are safety concerns.

"Forty-five percent of drownings are due, at least in part, to alcohol," he points out.

"We could increase the risk," he warns.

Lovegrove accepts that the change is going ahead but stands by his dissenting vote.

<who>Photo credit: NowMedia </who> Gord Lovegrove

"I have to be there for those folks that want a safe, comfortable place for their families, for their youth to be at."

The city plan is to create designated zones or areas, away from children-focused infrastructure, and provide signage to show how to report any problems.

This summer, the responsible use of alcohol will be permitted at Waterfront Park, including Tugboat Beach, Kinsmen Park and Boyce-Gyro Beach Park to include Sutherland Bay Park, Strathcona Beach Park, Rotary Beach Park, Sarsons Beach Park and Cedar Creek Park.



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