The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)

The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)

Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

Tofino officially adopted a policy that had been brewing for nearly two years last week, but they likely won’t be popping the champagne.

The town’s municipal council approved the final draft of a municipal alcohol policy on Jan. 12 that will make it harder to drink alcohol in public spaces.

Under the new policy, all public events serving alcohol on municipally owned property will require approval from council and approval will automatically be denied to any events being held at public parks, docks or trails.

“Public parks are intentionally set aside as inclusive community spaces. Public parks should not be designated for exclusive, adult-only uses such as those that serve alcohol,” the policy reads.

It adds that alcohol on docks and trails presents a “significant safety concern for participants and first responders.”

The policy also prohibits alcohol at community events targeting families, like Family Day, Canada Day and parades.

“The provision of alcohol does not add significantly to the atmosphere or quality of events that intentionally target the inclusion of families and children, and may jeopardize the overall appeal to a multi-generational audience,” it reads.

Organizers of events must be clear in their marketing materials that alcohol will be present.

“Sober individuals, people with children and people with substance use issues should be aware if the event intends to serve alcohol so that informed choices can be made,” the policy reads.

In a presentation to council, the district’s manager of corporate services Elyse Goatcher Bergmann explained that the new policy is specific to public events and leaves the door open for further policies around alcohol in other aspects of community.

The policy was first raised by Coun. Tom Stere in 2019 and came in the wake of a presentation to council from then Central Vancouver Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Hasselback.

READ MORE: Health officer urges Tofino to address alcohol problem

Consultations with public health officials and Tofino residents, including a public survey, took place throughout 2020.

“We got a lot of great responses that informed the content of the policy and how we’ll be rolling it out from here,” Goatcher-Bergmann said.

The policy, which was unanimously approved by council, will be up for review in 2023.

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