The District of Fort St. James has received a $7,000 grant to help develop a municipal alcohol policy (MAP).
The money is part of a provincial program through BC Healthier Communities funding and could help fund public consultation, the hiring of a consultant to develop the policy, potential training requirements for the implementation of the policy or to address alcohol in the community, and possible signage.
According to the government information, a MAP “helps local governments/First Nations manage alcohol facilities they own and manage, and reduces liability for alcohol-related problems.”
Community safety and overall health are goals of the program, and the literature goes on to say MAPs “support community values and a culture of moderation by raising awareness about alcohol-related issues and influencing community social norms that contribute to drinking behaviours.”
The goal is to develop a policy which takes all stakeholders into consideration in order to regulate alcohol consumption in municipal facilities and recreation areas throughout the community.
This would include places like the curling rink, Music Makers Hall, Cottonwood Park and the ball diamonds, for example.
The district said their aim is to make the community healthier for everyone, not to try and target every person who consumes alcohol.
Mayor Rob MacDougall said the district will be working with the RCMP and service providers in the area to develop the policy.
“There’s drinking in the downtown area, there’s drinking in other areas. Some of it’s done without proper licences and such,” said MacDougall. “It’s an opportunity for us to come up with a policy that can maybe assist the law providers.”
He said the district will be considering all options and may look at policy around the location of liquor outlets for the future.