A motion vying for an update to B.C.’s debated liquor laws passed at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention Friday (Sept. 28), meaning Whistlerites may be one step closer to freely enjoying a beer at events in the presence of minors.
The motion, sponsored by the municipalities of Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, along with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, would allow for the consumption of alcohol in fenced-off areas at specially-approved events.
The current law dictates that the consumption of alcohol must occur within an enclosed beer garden away from the actual event and the view of minors.
“The way it works right now,” explained Coun. Jack Crompton, who was in Victoria last week for the UBCM summit, “(if) you want to have a beer with your family, you end up in this little pen, having to pound back your couple beers so you can go hang out with your family.”
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has been a strong advocate of the change to provincial liquor law — no surprise considering the number of outdoor events that are regularly staged here.
“We’ve been working pretty hard through UBCM to get stadium liquor licensing so that we could hold events in (Olympic) Plaza,” said Crompton.
Events would still have to be approved by the RCMP and local government before the granting of a Special Event Licence allowing for the open consumption of alcohol.
Despite the progress, Crompton remained skeptical that the current provincial government would ultimately move forward on the proposal.
“I spoke to a minister who said he doesn’t think it’s very likely that the Liberals would consider it, so I’m not hopeful that it’ll happen any time soon, but it’s a first step for sure,” said Crompton.
The provincial government announced new legislation in May allowing for caterers to obtain and carry their own liquor licences, a move that was heralded by Whistler’s council.
Previously, caterers could only serve alcohol if the event host had obtained a liquor licence for the venue being used.
The UBCM Convention brought municipal representatives from over 150 municipalities to Victoria this week to meet with provincial and federal officials and discuss the core issues facing local government.
Couns. John Grills and Jack Crompton joined Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden for the weeklong summit, which wrapped up Friday (Sept. 28).