PEI

BYOB restaurant prompts police concern

Summerside police are calling for changes to P.E.I.'s Liquor Control Act after learning that a restaurant in the city was allowing customers to bring in their own wine and beer.

Summerside police are calling for changes to P.E.I.'s Liquor Control Act after learning that a restaurant in the city was allowing customers to bring in their own wine and beer.

It's illegal on the Island for customers to take alcohol into any establishment, licensed or not. Violations can bring a $220 fine.

It's not a law that comes up often. Summerside Deputy Police Chief Sinclair Walker said he has never investigated a complaint of that kind before. But Summerside police were recently tipped off that a restaurant in the city — they would not say which one — that did not have a liquor licence was allowing customers to bring in their own wine and beer.

Walker said police made a visit to the establishment.

"They thought they were providing a good service for their customers," said Walker.

Police informed the owners they were encouraging illegal activity.

Following their talk with the owners, Summerside police made a surprise visit to the restaurant on the weekend and found no alcohol.

Only customers can be charged

Walker believes there is a problem with the current legislation, because there is nothing preventing businesses from allowing customers to bring their own alcohol. It is the customers who are liable to be charged with drinking in a public place if they are caught.

"I think there has to be some changes made to the act," said Walker.

He thinks the restaurant should be held responsible,

Jamie MacLeod, director of licensing for the Liquor Control Commission, said it is not a priority for the commission to change that section of the act.

The Department of Tourism, which oversees the Commission, said it won't make changes to the law unless the commission requests it.

Walker said police are considering more random checks of other restaurants in the future.