Liquor reforms give people freedom

Thanks to a host of reforms regulating liquor sales and consumption, I won’t have to hide my drink in a travel mug at music festivals.

This summer my plans include kicking back in an open field, drink in hand, as I watch band after band take the stage at one of the many music festivals on my to-do list.

Thanks to a host of reforms regulating liquor sales and consumption in B.C., I won’t have to hide that drink in a flask or a travel mug.

The restriction on booze at festivals was the first of more than 70 reforms that caught my attention.

The recommendations came through the B.C. Liquor Review final report, led by MLA John Yap, which took information, research and opinions from across the province.

Recommendations include removing fencing at festivals, hockey games and special events so that patrons can wander through the festival, rather than be fenced in.

It allows families to remain together, rather than having one parent at a time go off to have a drink.

Parents and children would also get to stay together at a pub, which, under the recommendations, would let children in up until a certain hour.

Being child-free, this made me shudder at first glance. But if I see it from the point of view of my friends with kids – whose children I find adorable even when they’re pitching fits – it offers them more choice in restaurants in a more relaxing environment than some “family-friendly” establishments.

Other highlights include loosening the restrictions on vineyards and breweries to offer tasting areas, or to sell their wares at farmers’ markets; ability for bars and pubs to offer “happy hours;” and offering liquor sales within grocery stores.

The report calls for expansion of the Serving It Right program to train more people in the responsibilities of serving alcohol, and administration changes around special occasion licences.

The B.C. Liberal government accepted all 73 recommendations but the timeline on implementing all of them, especially liquor in grocery stores, might take a significant period of time as the province consults with stakeholders in the community.

I’ve often heard from police officers and paramedics that if they could ban one drug it would be alcohol.

I don’t doubt that the substance contributes to social problems in our community – social problems that could be better solved through education, rather than prohibition.

Making people walk across a parking lot and conduct a second transaction on their credit card will not dissuade someone bent on buying a mickey of Potter’s rum.

I might one day be able to do what I did in Europe last summer – have a beer by the waterfront.

It felt like a moment from a movie, where I found myself sitting in the sunshine on the stone walkway next to the Weser River in Germany. As I updated my travel journal while I watched pedestrians, cyclers and the odd vehicle weave and dodge each other, off to my right two young men were also enjoying the afternoon with beer in green bottles that caught the brilliant sunlight. They talked quietly while they drank in public, and when they were done, they put their bottles in the recycling receptacle and left. It seemed so … civilized.

The regular rules still apply – being drunk in public is still an offence, whether you’re sitting on a park bench or stumble out of a nightclub.

But as public parks – unless in the course of a festival or event – are not under consideration for allowing alcohol under these latest liquor reforms, so we all will have to continue to fly to Europe for that privilege.

editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Stretch of Departure Bay Road to be closed until month’s end for road work

Slope stabilization taking place between Newton Street and Little John Way

Jazz saxophonist touring the West Coast with one of his heroes

Weeds to play the Lighthouse Bistro with New York pianist David Hazeltine on Aug. 20

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Cassidy can’t support airport development

Environmental assessment needed on land overtop of aquifer, says letter writer

Sound mixer stolen from Nanaimo nightclub

Nanaimo RCMP ask for tips about theft of sound mixer from Koncept Nightclub

Memorial for drug overdose victims on display at St. Paul’s Church in Nanaimo

Flags of Hope Overdose Awareness Display at Chapel Street church until Aug. 29

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 15

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Most Read