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Town seeks input on alcohol sale request

By Randy Thoms Sep 15, 2023 | 1:40 PM

Seating at the Ice for Kids Arena at the Memorial Sports Centre, undated photo. Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting

The town of Fort Frances is surveying the community before making any change to its alcohol policy.

An online survey was launched on Wednesday in response to a request by the Fort Frances Lakers junior A hockey club to sell alcohol at its home games and have fans enjoy it in the stands.

Speaking at this week’s town council meeting, Mayor Andrew Hallikas feels it is a prudent thing to do.

“I know that historically this has come up before and there has been some controversy and some pushback. So, although the town is not bound by the survey, it’s not a referendum, I think it shows prudent forethought to survey your constituency,” says Hallikas.

Councillor Steve Maki fears it will only delay council’s final decision.

“The team is asking for us to make some adjustments to policies. The way bureaucracy works. The season is going to be over before we ever make a decision. We’re going to do a survey that’s going to take a month down the road and then it’s going to come back. And I guess my concern is the season is going to be over and we’re not going to be able to help the Lakers,” says Maki.

“We’re here representing the people of the community. So, do we not know, generally speaking, what the community wants and are we not here to represent their thoughts?” asks Maki.

The survey is generating some negative reactions on social media about the questions being asked.

On of the questions asked in a town of Fort Frances survey, September 13, 2023

No mention the Fort Frances Lakers is made in the survey, but it does ask if you support alcohol sales at the arenas of the Memorial Sports Centre, if alcohol should be served at f

amily events and if there should be a designated area for drinking.

Another asks which locations where alcohol is appropriate for events, listing such locations as outdoor parks, the beach front, the Townshend Theatre, and the Sister Kennedy Centre.

It also asks if alcohol should be restricted at wading pools, the splash park and skateboard park.

Some on social media call the survey bias.  One comment recommends the survey be rewritten.

The existing policy was last amended in May 2022 to allow renters of the Sister Kennedy Centre to be eligible for a

One of the questions appearing in a town of Fort Frances survey, September 13, 2023

Special Occasion Permit.

The survey is to remain on the town’s website until September 27.