New penalties for on-course liquor offences
It looks (from the 800 or so empties, 80% of which were unlabelled, found in the recycle bins over 19 days) as though Mount Brenton golfers have mistaken this for a BYOB course.
It is not!
The BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) provides strict guidelines and rules for alcoholic beverage service on golf courses and monitors it closely.
Under BC’s liquor laws, all liquor consumed on our course must be purchased at the course and specially labelled as such. Outside liquor is defined as any liquor (including beer) not purchased at MBGC. The club is required to limit the quantity of beverages it will sell to individuals, and this is the primary way LRCB rules help limit overconsumption on or adjacent to the course. Through education and regulation, LRCB rules are intended to help make sure that the service and sale of liquor is done according to law and in a way that keeps customers, guests, and others safe from alcohol-related harm.
The intent is control, not prohibition. The LCRB is not opposed to liquor being sold and consumed on golf courses. It is a legal and socially acceptable practice that provides enjoyment and relaxation for those golfers who choose to imbibe while playing or share a drink with their playing partners after a round.
The issue with outside alcohol is that its distribution cannot be effectively controlled, and the risks of over consumption, legal liability, impaired driving, and violence are significantly heightened.
The MBGC Board fully supports these principles.
Over consumption of alcohol detracts from everyone’s enjoyment. The terms of MBGC’s liquor license require the Board of Directors, our staff, and all members to be diligent in trying to prevent the consump1on of outside alcohol. We must take this responsibility seriously or risk serious consequences. The LCRB also does frequent inspections to monitor what takes place on the property.
Failure to abide by the rules may result in substantial fines levied against the club, the food and beverage contractor, and staff members, as well as suspension or removal of the permit.
In the fall of 2021, complaints were made to the LCRB about golfers bringing and consuming outside liquor purchased on our course. The LCRB contacted the Board and since that time LCRB officials and MBGC Board members have met on multiple occasions to discuss the specific complaints and the general expectations for control of liquor on golf courses.
The LCRB has identified the problem of outside liquor being consumed on Vancouver Island golf courses as a serious concern and is ramping up their monitoring of this activity.
As a result, the Board has adopted a zero-tolerance policy with respect to outside alcohol.
As permitted under our liquor license, we can, and will, search golf bags, carts, and coolers if there is any indication that they may contain outside alcohol and all outside alcohol found will be confiscated. All our staff — pro shop, grounds crew, office managers and course marshals — are empowered to report all rule breaches.
And we ask you, as members and owners of our golf course, to be vigilant and report alcohol-related transgressions to either the pro shop, office, or the restaurant. All incidents will be documented and reported to the Board and as required, to the LCRB.
Our zero-tolerance policy will contain a three-pronged progression of penalties for both members and public golfers.
First offence — the golfer or golfers found in possession of outside alcohol will be asked to leave the course immediately and will receive a written warning from the Board. No refund or rain check will be given.
Second offence — an automatic 30-day suspension of booking and playing privileges from date of infraction.
Third offence — an immediate indefinite suspension, and the golfer or golfers will be subject to a Board disciplinary hearing which may result in further penal-es up to and including permanent banishment from the course or termina-on of membership.
The consumption of any alcohol in our parking lots and in or near the cart shed is strictly prohibited and subject to the same penalties but may also involve the RCMP.
Alcohol service hours are set by the LCRB from 10 am to closing from Monday to Saturday and from 11 am to closing on Sundays.
The LCRB also has prescribed minimum limits on pricing of beverages. In the coming weeks the Board and the Restauranteur will be discussing operating hours for the restaurant and snack shack and reviewing alcohol pricing to aid in the goal of eliminating outside alcohol from MBGC.
A safe, friendly, and welcoming environment should be a basic expectation for all golfers at Mount Brenton Golf Club.
Aligning ourselves with LCRB policy is a reasonable, fair, and important responsibility for our members and the public.
Mount Brenton Board of Directors