N.S. judge suggests legislation to ban glass in bars
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:25PM ADT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:26PM ADT
A Nova Scotia judge is calling for legislation that would ban glass in bars after handing out a sentence related to a bar fight in Bridgewater.
Judge Gregory Lenehan says it’s time to get rid of glass bottles and cups because they can be used as weapons in bar fights.
Instead, he says beverages should be poured into plastic cups.
Some people say it’s a good idea, while others say a ban on glass in bars is impractical.
“I believe if people are not mature enough to act their age, then absolutely they should be treated like children with plastic cups,” says one Halifax area resident.
“It seems absurd,” says another. “I mean, I understand for a stadium, in a baseball or football stadium, not having glass or heavy objects that you can throw down in a crowd, but that’s what bouncers are for, isn’t it?”
Some Halifax bar owners say it doesn’t make sense.
Brian Doherty owns the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, with locations in Halifax, Moncton and Charlottetown, and he is wondering how far a ban on glass would go.
“You start with bottles and everything. What’s next? Will it be salt and pepper shakers? Maybe we’ll have to take knives and forks away in case someone uses them as a weapon,” he says.
He also says not only would such a ban be impractical, it would be expensive. Plastic cups can’t be sterilized or re-used and Doherty says they would quickly fill up landfill sites.
Prototypes of shatterproof glasses are now being tested in Britain. They consist of a combination of plastic and glass that won’t turn into shards if dropped. However, it would still hurt to get hit with one.
The manager of the Halifax Alehouse says he doesn’t like to see anyone get hurt, and he understands Lenehan’s argument.
“If there were some way we could switch to some kind of glass that was shatterproof, you know, that’s something we could look at,” says Peter Martell.
A change in legislation would also force breweries and other alcohol producers to change their production lines.
“If it came to something, there are choices to be made,” says Wade Keller, a spokesperson with Labatt Breweries. “Realistically, this is an issue of enforcement. Not what container the beer is being served in.”
Service Nova Scotia, which licenses bars, says it hasn’t seen an increase in assaults, and one bar owner says more vigilance by bar staff in weeding out troublemakers and underage drinkers would contribute more to safety, than banning glass in bars.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw