City revises alcohol policy

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By Chris Marchand

The City of Dryden is revising its guidelines around licensed events serving alcohol in city-owned facilities.

The changes come at a time when public health officials are focusing on problem drinking rates in the region that are six times higher than the national average. The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) says that 72 per cent of residents aged 19-44 are exceeding safe drinking guidelines (no more than two drinks per day and ten per week for women; three drinks per day and fifteen a week for men).

A spring report on regional Alcohol Trends identified working with municipalities to shore up their alcohol policies as one way the NWHU could take action on the issue. The NWHU recently rated the city’s current Municipal Alcohol Policy, last updated in 2011, a total of 37.9 out of 100 points.

The latest version of the policy to be passed by council, Monday evening, scores 95.5 by the Health Unit’s standard of measurement and may serve as a guiding document for other municipalities in the region.

“The Municipal Alcohol Policy, can show Council, municipal staff and user groups how to manage alcohol so people can enjoy themselves while reducing the number and the severity of problems such as: public intoxication, drinking in unlicensed areas, impaired driving, underage drinking, vandalism, assaults and injury or death,” said City of Dryden Deputy Clerk Allyson Euler.  “In addition, the policy would enforce when a permit is issued that: fresh drinking water and food must be provided from 8:00 p.m. until the bar closes, people under 25 years will be required to show identification before being allowed into the event,  that attendees will be allowed to buy a maximum of 4 tickets or drinks per person per purchase, that attendees will be able to turn in pre-purchased drink tickets for a full refund at any time during the event up until 1:00 a.m., to a maximum of 4 tickets per person, and that sponsors of the Special Occasion Permit will be required to provide proof of third party liability insurance (minimum $2 million) at least 14 days prior to the event.”

The clerk’s office reports that in the past three years, there have been twelve (12) permits issued in the Clerks Department that would fall under the umbrella of the Municipal Alcohol Policy.

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