A portion of Alexander Street is closed to vehicle traffic Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Alexander Plaza, an open market with vendors, artisans, music and more. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)

A portion of Alexander Street is closed to vehicle traffic Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Alexander Plaza, an open market with vendors, artisans, music and more. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)

Downtown Salmon Arm asks city to allow alcohol consumption during Alexander Plaza

Organization says bylaw change will allow people to enjoy a beverage from local producers

Those of legal drinking age who attend Alexander Plaza on Saturdays may soon be able to partake in an alcoholic beverage while shopping at the downtown outdoor market.

The organization representing Salmon Arm’s downtown businesses has asked the city to make the necessary bylaw change to allow liquor consumption during the Saturday vehicle-free event.

“We are fortunate to have a variety of locally owned breweries, distilleries and wineries,” commented Salmon Arm Downtown Improvement Association manager Lindsey Wong in a letter to city council.

Wong explained with current regulations, local producers are only allowed to provide samples of their product.

“This opportunity would provide the public with an option to purchase a locally crafted beverage to enjoy on Alexander Plaza,” Wong continued, adding this could create a “cultural shift” in how the street is utilized, “not only for the passage of vehicles but for pedestrians to experience a sense of community.”

Wong explains in the letter that the BC Liquor and Licensing Act allows cities to pass a bylaw that permitting liquor consumption in city owned public spaces. It also allows for the designation of specific hours in which the privilege would be in effect.

Included in her letter to the city is a list of points taken from a conversation with the City of Penticton, one of two communities to have adopted a similar bylaw. Among them, the City of Penticton surveyed 1,270 people, and found 70 per cent were in support; RCMP expressed concerns and were not thrilled; citizens were concerned about enforcement, litter and signage; and a trial period has been extended to the end of summer.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Alexander Street to be open to foot traffic only on Saturdays

Read more: Turning Salmon Arm’s Alexander Street into a plaza will be delayed

Wong said it was also asked if this really supports local business. She was informed there isn’t a metric to measure this so Penticton will be gauging this anecdotally.

The request to the city comes from the Salmon Arm Downtown Improvement Association board following its approval of a related motion on July 15. It will go before Salmon Arm city council during their regular meeting at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 27.

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