Alcohol consumption on beaches in Penticton appears to be here to stay.
City council unanimously supported a bylaw Tuesday, Feb. 7, that permits outdoor liquor consumption in select parks and beaches along the Okanagan and Skaha waterfronts.
Consuming alcohol will be permitted from 12 to 9 p.m. every day on Okanagan Beach, Rotary Park, Okanagan Lake Park, Marina Way Park, Skaha Park and Sudbury Beach, just like it has been since mid-2020.
After three successful pilot years from 2020 to 2022, the program now appears bound for permanent status, meaning council will no longer have to pass a new bylaw every year for alcohol to be permitted in select areas.
The updated bylaw presented by city staff Tuesday includes extending the permitted drinking areas along the full Okanagan and Skaha beach fronts, as well as changing the end time of the program each day from 8 to 9 p.m.
Council will be prompted at a future meeting to officially adopt the bylaw, which will remain in effect year-round.
The initiative was first implemented in the summer of 2020 to support local restaurants and breweries that had limited capacity due to COVID-19.
City staff says the program’s pilot years received general support from the Parks Department, RCMP, bylaw, the Downtown Penticton Association, Chamber of Commerce, and Travel Penticton.
They do note, however, that Interior Health has shown ongoing opposition to the bylaw.