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Township, clubs seek information on new alcohol rules

by Chris Daponte

MAPLETON TWP. - Clerk Patty Sinnamon has suggested township officials and local service clubs meet with an Ontario alcohol and gaming representative to discuss what effect, if any, new alcohol rules have on local events.

There appears to be some confusion in various municipalities throughout the province about the new rules, which came into effect June 1.

And last month Mapleton’s parks, recreation and culture committee noted there is concern about minors drinking and also about alcohol being consumed outside of township events.

Sinnamon last week suggested council and staff need to meet with Mapleton service clubs to discuss the changes.

In particular, she noted the change allowing drinking outside of beer tents or gardens at festivals and events is being misinterpreted. If that’s the rule adopted by an event, the larger area still needs to be enclosed with a fence, she explained.

She added it is still up to the local municipality to decide if it wants to extend alcohol service at events from 1am to 2am - another change okayed by the province.

In fact, Attorney General Chris Bentley emphasized upon passage of the new alcohol laws that it will be up to local communities if they want to approve any of the new relaxed measures.

“It’s not one size fits all,” Bentley told the London Free Press in late May. “And if the people, organizers and municipalities don’t want to do any of this, they don’t have to.”

Bentley added the Ontario government was just trying to provide more flexibility.

In addition to the extended hours and ability to drink outside beer tents, other changes approved by the province include:

- restaurant and bar servers can carry drinks on public sidewalks to licensed areas such as patios;

- all-inclusive vacation packages can now be sold in Ontario;

- business owners can give a complementary drink to customers to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary;

- boat tours can begin serving alcohol before the boat leaves the dock; and

- businesses not usually in the food and alcohol business, such as such as spas and art galleries, can apply for a permit to serve alcohol during a special event.

Sinnamon said she would like to invite township and service club officials to meet sometime in August with a representative from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to discuss the rules.

She suggested the township could also contact other municipalities and clubs and offer one information session for anyone interested.

Mayor Bruce Whale said he liked the idea and councillors Jim Curry and Mike Downey seemed to be in agreement.


July 29, 2011


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