Liquor consumption bylaw amended in Gananoque

A bylaw for consumption of liquor in public places has been amended by Gananoque council.

Doing so now allows the organizer of any event the ability to determine if they want public alcohol to be allowed or not.

On Oct. 18, 2022, council passed a bylaw to allow the consumption of liquor in public places. Joel Stone Park was the only location cited in the bylaw.

On Dec. 6, 2022, council defeated a motion to consider a motion to repeal the bylaw. On Jan. 17, 2023, council passed a motion directing staff to bring back a report to amend the consumption of liquor in public places bylaw to exclude scheduled/booked events in Joel Stone Park to allow the organizer of any event the ability to determine if they want public alcohol to be allowed or not.

Event organizers who book events in the park with the intention of selling alcohol must still obtain a special occasions permit and fence the licensed area. This will also need to be properly signed and communicated to attendees. They will also need to follow the town’s alcohol policy.

Gananoque’s Police Chief, Scott Gee, was consulted for this, saying he fully supports this change in the spirit of its intentions. However, he did raise some concerns.

“The current bylaw clearly defines open alcohol consumption in the defined area is permitted regardless of what is occurring in the area,” Gee said. “I would anticipate some events would not want alcohol consumed if they were hosting an event in the area. (like kids’ events, movie shoots, tourism events, etc.). I am however concerned how this will likely create public confusion, and the need for a very strong messaging piece at the location. The result of public confusion could result in bylaw or LLCA charges. Further, if a bylaw offence is committed at the location, it is to be enforced by any provincial offences officer. As this is a municipal bylaw, I respectfully submit the enforcement would fall to municipal bylaw enforcement department as primary response.”

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times