City’s liquor licence reinstated, zero tolerance policy adopted at public facilities

The city’s liquor licence has been reinstated following a suspension by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, but the tradition of having a cold one in the dressing room after a game will no longer be tolerated at city facilities.

In March, a provincial liquor inspector found the city to be in violation of its liquor licence after some players were discovered drinking off-sales beer beyond the Nanaimo Ice Centre’s designated beer gardens.

The violation resulted in a four-event liquor suspension — the brunt of the penalty was incurred by junior B and senior B lacrosse teams. The licence was reinstated June 27.

The city also had to pay a $1,000 fine.

As a response, on June 26 the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission adopted a zero tolerance policy for off-sales alcohol at city facilities.

“Most arenas on the Island have some sort of policy that staff can use as far as alcohol in the facility goes,” said Suzanne Samborski, Nanaimo’s senior manager for recreation and culture. “Nanaimo hasn’t had a policy so what this does is give us a tool to manage the arenas and to ensure we’re in compliance with our primary liquor licence. We’re not looking for our staff to become alcohol police, we’re just implementing a tool should the situation arise.”

Groups that have historically imbibed after ice time on public property are being asked to respect the new policy to prevent further suspensions.

The Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has indicated it is going to increase its random inspections at city facilities with primary liquor licenses to ensure laws are being followed.