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City tapped to support youth in pubs
Business owner asks city hall for letter to strengthen case for serving food to families in bars

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Northern News Services
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

One downtown restaurant owner is hoping the city's pen is mightier than the GNWT's sword.

NNSL photograph

Jason Perrino, co-owner of Twist & Shout, plans to take a petition to the GNWT along with a request to allow children to dine with their parents in his bar. He asked council at Monday's municipal services committee meeting to write a letter expressing the city's support as well. - Jessica Davey-Quantick/NNSL photo

At Monday's municipal services committee meeting, Jason Perrino, co-owner of Twist & Shout, asked council to write a letter of support for his request to allow children into Yellowknife restaurants with a Class A, or liquor-primary, licence.

Perrino told council he plans to present a petition with around 400 signatures to the legislative assembly supporting the change.

"What I'm here to ask is for you to think about this idea and whether you think the citizens of Yellowknife would benefit from this kind of business model," he said. "And to write it on a piece of paper."

NWT Brewing Company owners Fletcher and Miranda Stevens started the petition to let children into liquor-primary restaurants after realizing their newborn son wouldn't be allowed to enter the restaurant attached to their brewery, thanks to their Class A licence.

According to the NWT Liquor Act, venues have a choice between a Class A licence, where a business generates revenue primarily from the sale and service of liquor, or a Class B licence, where food must be served alongside drinks. Minors are allowed in establishments with a Class B licence.

"The problem is that the GNWT doesn't have a licence that fits my business model," said Perrino.

"We keep refusing service to people who show up at our door who have strollers or have minors. It's really disheartening and difficult to always refuse service at the door when there's money right there."

According to Ngan Trinh, senior communications officer with the Department of Finance, Class A venues can partition their premises to run a restaurant on one side and a bar on the other, or get a multiple premise licence, which would let them operate as one class for part of the day and another for the evening.

"The NWT liquor system takes deliberate precautions to protect youth from exposure to alcohol and has limited exceptions when minors are permitted access to a licensed establishment," she stated in an email, adding it's a "lengthy" process to change the NWT Liquor Act or regulations.

According to city spokesperson Richard McIntosh, there was no discussion following Perrino's presentation.

If a member of council wishes to pursue the issue, he or she will need to request it to be added to an upcoming agenda.

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