Vancouver Park Board requests police funding for summer alcohol on beaches pilot

The Vancouver Park Board is requesting a one-time spending increase to police booze on the beach. This comes as violent incidents have increased at Vancouver beaches over the last five years.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is requesting $930,000 from the city to increase police presence across seven beaches this summer.

The board has requested funding to employ more Vancouver Police Department (VPD) officers, rangers, and park operations in anticipation of extending the Alcohol on Beaches pilot project which started in 2023.

Last year, adults were allowed to consume alcoholic beverages at seven beaches across the city — Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, Kitsilano Beach, Locarno Beach, Second Beach in Stanley Park, John Hendry/Trout Lake Beach, and New Brighton Beach.

But concerns about violence and inebriated swimmers highlighted in a new city staff report suggest that more enforcement is needed.

The report showed that violent incidents have increased at beaches in the last five years. The number of incidents tripled at Kitsilano Beach, from four incidents in 2018 to 12 in 2023.

At English Bay, despite not being a beach included on the list of approved drinking locations, violent incidents increased from six in 2018 to 28 in 2023.

The proposal presented to city council includes 12 officers deployed for eight-hour shifts from May until August, costing the city $450,000.

One beachgoer said they don’t think the spending would improve the situation.

“Police patrol —it changes the tone and the vibe of the area completely and everyone just gets anxious and unsure,” they told CityNews.

The Alcohol on Beaches pilot for 2024 starts June 1, and will run until the end of September.

With files from Hana Mae Nassar

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