A request by the SOAR Community Health Board, which asked Amherst town council to develop a policy that would ban alcohol at all town-owned and operated facilities when children and youth were present, has been rejected by the town.

The request was made in a letter from board co-chair Linda Cloney that was presented to the council at its Nov. 20 committee of the whole meeting.

In the letter, Cloney said all the data collected by them “makes it abundantly clear that we have a problem with alcohol in our communities, particularly as it pertains to our youth.”

Cloney said banning alcohol at events where children were present would expand on the town’s efforts to promote Family First events, which she noted are alcohol and smoke free and have been a “resounding success.”

A report prepared by town staff indicated the impact of the ban proposed by the community health board would be felt mainly at the Amherst Stadium during junior A hockey games.

The report said council had three options:

  • immediately ban all alcohol from town facilities when children are present,
  • maintain the current practice that allows alcohol to be sold at the stadium in accordance with licence requirements and current security arrangements, or,
  • continue to allow the sale of alcohol while directing staff to prepare a report on efforts that can be taken to mitigate impacts and exposure to alcohol by youth and children.

Council directed staff to maintain the current practice of allowing alcohol to be sold at the stadium and other town facilities in accordance with licence requirements and current security arrangements.

They also directed staff to conduct a review of security arrangements at occasions where alcohol and children and youth are present to see if they could be improved in a way that would mitigate the impact and exposure youth and children might experience at those events.