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EZT unveils changes to alcohol policy

East Zorra-Tavistock has made some minor changes to its recently implemented alcohol policy. The changes were approved by members of council at last week’s regular meeting in Innerkip.

Council approved the policy on May 17 with an implementation date of September 1, then staff held two public information sessions on August 17. The township’s CAO, Karen DePrest, said they have also done some additional consultations. “Township staff consulted with our insurer, neighbouring municipalities, and the AGCO, and considered the provided feedback from the public orientation sessions. Suggestions for applicable changes were incorporated into the policy revisions noted in the cover report.”

The new policy has resulted in the Tavistock Royals OEHL hockey team changing how they serve alcohol at their home games at the arena. Previously, fans were able to drink booze at the top of the seating area, but the team is now limited to serving and having patrons drink in the upper hall unless they ask for and are granted an exemption for booze to be consumed in the tiered seating.

EZT Mayor Phil Schaefer said the team has no choice. “The Royals were instructed to apply for an exception to the Municipal Alcohol Policy to extend alcohol consumption to the tiered seating area of the arena during their home games. The exception request must be made in writing and indicate the dates of the games for which the exception is being sought. The request must also include the expected attendance numbers for each of those games.” He added all other conditions of the policy, as amended, will continue to be in force including staffing and security requirements as indicated in the policy.” The council report, which was approved, passed a motion that said, “The Tavistock Royals Hockey Club be instructed to apply for delegation for their requested exception event dates.”

The report alluded to by DePrest was written by Meaghan Vader, the township’s corporate initiatives officer. It outlines several wording changes to the policy, including the removal of two extra floor monitors during an event where youth are in attendance when mandatory stamps or wristbands are used. “It was felt both were unnecessary based on the other provisions and safeguards in the policy.”

Also changed was the number of drink tickets someone may purchase at one time on EZT property. Anyone drinking alcohol is able to purchase two drinks at once. “The wording previously included the word tickets as well. There is no restriction on the number of tickets an individual may purchase, however, only two may be redeemed at a time for two drinks in accordance with regulations from AGCO.” The original policy also did not allow alcohol to be served in a can, but that portion has been updated providing the can is opened by a bartender.

Lee Griffi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wilmot-Tavistock Gazette