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Minors will be allowed in Whistler-Blackcomb bars on trial basis

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Parents getting off the hill with their kids will now be able to enjoy a cold beer at Merlin's, Dusty's and the GLC with their minors in tow.

Recent changes to the provincial liquor licensing policies mean minors are allowed to be in bars which are owned and operated by downhill ski areas, but only until 7 p.m. A parent or guardian must accompany them at all times.

These changes are part of a pilot project that runs until May 31, after which time they will be assessed by the provincial government.

For many international visitors to Whistler this will be a welcome change.

Compared to European liquor laws, many visitors find the B.C. laws too strict.

Families with minors were previously not allowed into apres bars with minors. These laws were a common complaint among many guests.

In order for the changes to go through, Whistler-Blackcomb was looking for endorsement from the municipality. They received that at Tuesday's council meeting.

At the same time Dusty's and Merlin's also applied for an increase to their patio capacity to a maximum of 225 seats each.

This is also part of the new changes to the liquor laws and was also endorsed by council.

Whistler-Blackcomb posted a public information sign and ran ads in the newspapers describing the changes and asking for pubic feedback.

Two members of the public sent in written comments to the municipality. Both were supportive of allowing minors into the bars, although one respondent thought 4 p.m. was more appropriate than 7 p.m.

The Whistler Liquor License Advisory Committee reviewed all three applications in March.

As part of the agreement Whistler-Blackcomb had to sign a Licensed Establishment Good Neighbour Agreement and Noise Mitigation Plan with the municipality. The plan includes a commitment to co-operate with community stakeholders in the reduction of noise and violence in the municipality.

All three bars are owned and operated by Whistler-Blackcomb.

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