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You’ll be able to buy booze at two Vancouver beaches next year

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Next spring and summer you’ll be able to purchase alcohol at two concession operations at a couple of popular Vancouver beaches.

On Monday night, the Vancouver Park Board approved a proposed alcohol sales pilot program that was park of a broader concession strategy called “A Fresh Approach.”

The two-year pilot program is to be carried out at the English Bay and Kitsilano Beach concessions.

Those two locations were selected because they each have a restaurant partner operating concessions, which, should they be interested, makes adding alcohol sales less unchartered territory.

According to a Parks Board report, the pilot program will find “a small section of beach at English Bay, directly adjacent to the public walkway, would be reserved as an extension to the existing concession where food, non-alcoholic beverages, and a limited selection of beer and wine would be served.”

Things would be similar over at Kits Beach, “with a temporary small patio created on the hard surface outside the existing concession that would be open during the concession’s regular hours of operation.”

Having beach concession stands has been a controversial issue, but the Parks Board undertook a public survey in 2016, and found that a whopping 79% of respondents said they would be in favour of having alcohol sales at the beach.

In addition to trying out alcohol sales, concessions will continue to shift their focus on offering fresh, local food, healthier options, and on-trend vendors.

For the upcoming 2019 beach season, some concession stand will have new operating partners, like a couple at Spanish Banks whose current contract-holders have indicated they will not be renewing. Other stands could see revamping to become full-service cafes down the line, too.

The two-year wine and beer trial at English Bay and Kits will help the Parks Board determine if they should implement alcohol sales across the board at concession stands in the next three to five years.

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