Council approves three-day beer garden

No cause for concern after last weekend’s event



After last weekend’s beer garden went off without any glitches, the Iqaluit baseball association has been given the green light to host another beer event during their annual Canada Day weekend tournament.

The association had originally asked for a liquor permit allowing the beer garden to be open last Saturday and Sunday, and over the three days of the long weekend.

The association is selling beer to raise money for a second baseball diamond in Iqaluit and to send a team to a national tournament in Saskatchewan next year.

Council approved last weekend’s event, and delayed its decision on the Canada Day event until it heard a report about the first one.

Bylaw officers and liquor inspectors were keeping an eye out for signs of overserving or drinking and driving.

They saw nothing to cause them any concern, said Travise Dow, supervisor of the city’s bylaw department.

“There were no real problems noted,” Dow reported to council. “It went very smooth. It was run well.”

Dow inspected the beer garden six times during the tournament. Liquor inspectors and RCMP officers also checked in on the venue, which was set up past the baseball diamond on Federal Road.

Because of the event’s success, Dow recommended that council approve the second beer garden.

But his suggestion was met with apprehension from some councillors who don’t want to give the impression they support drink-fests.

“I want the organizers to realize that they’re not off the hook and that they can’t go wild at this beer garden,” deputy mayor Kirt Ejesiak said. Ejesiak was adamantly opposed to the baseball’s association request for the first beer garden, saying he worried the three-day tournament would turn into a drinking binge.

Councillor Lynda Gunn, who also spoke out against the first beer garden, asked that drinking times be limited on July 1. She didn’t want children exposed to the drinking on a family holiday.

Council allowed the beer garden to remain open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on July 1. On the other two days of the tournament, the beer garden can serve players from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Erle Deschene, president of the Iqaluit Baseball Association, said the two beer gardens will go a long way to help fundraising efforts. Last weekend’s event pulled in about $3,000.

Deschene said the association, which is made up of about 350 players, would like to raise between $7,000 to $10,000 altogether.

For the most part, corporate sponsors help fund the association, donating money to send teams to other softball tournaments.

The association is also fundraising to buy land for a second baseball diamond. Deschene said they’re currently checking out possible locations in Iqaluit and Apex.

“I want to show the business community that we’re making an effort to raise money,” Deschene said.

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