Lake Cowichan’s Lake Days beer garden may or may not be fenced

Provincial government considering implementing new rules on beer gardens that could see fences taken away

This year’s Lake Days will once again see a beer garden set up in Lake Cowichan, but whether it will be fenced as normal could possibly change.

The provincial government is considering implementing new rules that would no longer see beer gardens fenced in.

But the new rules may not come into place until after June when Lake Days comes around.

“The government may be bringing in new rules so that beer gardens would no longer be fenced in, but I don’t believe they will come into effect by June 8,” said Mayor Ross Forrest at last Monday’s regular council meeting at city hall.

The same night, council received a request for permission from the Lake Days committee asking to operate a beer garden out of Saywell Park come June 8.

The request was granted and the garden will be in operation from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on that day.

“If the changes come into place before June, we’ll need to pass that on to the Lake Days society,” said Coun. Tim McGonigle.

Some council members were concerned that if the beer garden is no longer fenced, the town may become liable if accidents occur.

“They are on town property so there might be liability issues if it’s not fenced,” said Coun. Jayne Ingram. “Who’s responsible if [somebody] walks out onto the road with a  drink?”

Chief administrator Joe Fernandez initially thought that because the beer garden would be on public land, then the town would be able to instigate their own rules, but Forrest wasn’t convinced.

“Most beer gardens are on public land so the government may have already taken that into consideration,” said the mayor.