Participants and spectators hoping to enjoy an alcoholic beverage after next weekend's GranFondo Whistler will be able to do so in the company of minors, in contrast to last year's event
In 2012 organizers hosted an enclosed drinking area, or beer garden, in which anyone under the age of 19 was prohibited from entering. Village restaurant Bearfoot Bistro has been approved for a food-primary catering license at this year's race, meaning minors will be allowed to enter the licensed area in Olympic Plaza, and will be distinguished from adults wearing a wristband obtained through proper identification.
“I'd rather see permanent changes to the liquor laws so they're not as archaic as they are in many cases, but this is a hundred-per-cent improvement to having small children on one side of the fence, while their mom or dad is on the other side of the fence having a beverage. It's just ludicrous,” said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, who, along with other B.C. municipalities, has lobbied the province to update its liquor laws to allow for less strict regulations, especially at events and festivals.
Whistler was selected by the provincial government in June as one of 10 B.C. communities that would test a special festival-style liquor license at up to two events this summer, and members of the RMOW's Liquor License Advisory Committee (LLAC) were hopeful GranFondo would be the pilot event for the initiative.
“The first attempt was to do the new pilot project with the (Special Occasion License) that the province brought out in March and there were numerous hurdles, but at the end of it, Bearfoot using the new catering endorsement they have allowed us to see Olympic Plaza operate with all the conditions we would more or less put in with the pilot project,” said council's appointed member to the LLAC John Grills.
Wilhelm-Morden said local RCMP will monitor the licensed area post-event and will report to the municipality if there are any issues that arise.
The fourth annual GranFondo Whistler will see participants finish the race along Blackcomb Way, with post-event activities scheduled for “Finish Plaza” in Lot 4 and a double-fenced area in Olympic Plaza. There will also be an awards stage with a DJ booth and live music in the plaza.
Liquor service hours have been requested for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers are anticipating around 5,400 people will come through the post-race areas throughout the day, with the peak hours between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
“I think this is just going to increase the family feeling for the event, and actually make it more popular than it has been,” said Coun. Andrée Janyk at Tuesday's (Aug. 20) council meeting.
The fourth annual GranFondo Whistler will be held next Saturday (Sept. 7).