Doctors back updating town alcohol policy


The Nelson Medicine Professional Corp. here is fully backing the town in updating its Municipal Alcohol Policy to meet current best practice guidelines.
In a letter co-signed by Drs. Melanie Halvorsen, Lorena Jenks, and Robert Nugent, they informed council that alcohol use remains a leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in Ontario, and that “alcohol-related harms are apparent in Fort Frances.”
“Nearly one-in-10 alcohol users in Ontario report weekly sessions of binge drinking, and we would expect that this number is higher in Fort Frances, especially among our youth,” they wrote.
Alcohol also is causally related to chronic disease and injury. For example, nearly 3,000 cases of cancer are attributable to alcohol use in Ontario.
Alcohol harms extend beyond the user and impacts family, friends, relationships, and communities.
Addressing the harms of alcohol use has major implications for police, emergency services, and the health-care system, the letter adds.
“We are writing as family physicians and concerned citizens to urge council to revise the Municipal Alcohol Policy [MAP] to meet current best practice guidelines,” it states.
“We are asking for municipal leadership to guarantee municipal events that are open to families, children, and youth be alcohol-free, such as farmers’ markets and hockey games.
“Alcohol-free family events are beneficial to our community, reduce the harms of alcohol misuse, and support our children and youth who are particularly vulnerable,” it concludes.
The letter was referred to the Community Services executive committee for its recommendation.
Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit, made a presentation to council at its Sept. 11 meeting, urging it to update the town’s Municipal Alcohol Policy.
Also at last night’s meeting, which was delayed a day due to the Thanksgiving holiday, council:
•agreed to allow an application for a zoning bylaw amendment to be forwarded to the Committee of Adjustment for a public meeting on Oct. 25, which will continue the process to amend the setbacks for navigable and non-navigable watercourse and hazard lands on a site-by-site basis;
•referred a military service recognition book advertising opportunity, from the Manitoba/NWO Ontario Command of the Royal Canadian Legion, to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;
•agreed to send a letter of recognition to Confederation College for its 50-year celebration;
•referred a letter from the CUPE Local #65 Retirement Planning Committee requesting a donation to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation;
•passed a bylaw to stop up and close, for the purpose of selling, a portion of Flinders Avenue, north of Third Street West and south of Fourth Street West;
•passed a bylaw to authorize an extension to a licence agreement with the minister of infrastructure for the purposes of leasing storage space at the airport garage;
•passed a bylaw to approve a lease renewal agreement with Melaire Ltd. at the Fort Frances Airport;
•passed a bylaw to approve a propane supply and equipment agreement with Energy Tech Services Co-op for supply of propane at the airport; and
•agreed to support the Township of South Stormont and the Municipality of Killarney requesting the minister of municipal affairs to reconsider the proposed changes under Bill 68 pertaining to out-of-court payments.