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Downtown restaurant owner tells council he’s tired of picking up beer cans on his property

Rick Oberdorfer of A&W says more has to be down to cut down on public drinking and littering in downtown Thompson.
aw and beer mart web
The owner of the A&W in Thompson says his business’s proximity to a beer vendor results in dozens or even hundreds of beer cans being tossed away on his property every day.

The owner of a downtown Thompson business asked city council to do something about public drinking and littering during their May 16 committee of the whole meeting.

Rick Oberdorfer, who owns the A&W franchise in Thompson, says his location just across the street from the Thompson Inn beer vendor is costing him time and money.

“It’s just solid, solid beer cans all day long and I’m tired of picking them up,” he said, noting that while there are only a few dozen per day in the winter, in summer the number of empties in the area can reach hundreds per day. “I keep a pretty neat shack. I take pride in it. I want to stop picking up beer cans on my property.”

Oberdorfer suggested council could investigate a way to encourage or require the beer vendor to take responsibility for keeping the area clean.

“They need to have somebody on staff to deter people from drinking liquor outside,” he said. “There’s nothing going on there at all. It’s just a free-for-all.”

Changes to the community safety officers’ hours should also be considered, said the A&W owner. 

“I don’t think that program is working,” he said. “They should be starting at 6 o’clock at night and working until 2 in the morning.”

In a public safety update presented later in the same meeting, recreation and community services director Sonya Wiseman said the number of CSOs went up from three to four as of April and that their two overlapping shifts cover 13 hours a day, five days a week, as well as some weekend shifts.

During the community comments and feedback portion of the meeting after Oberdorfer’s presentation to council, Robert Chuckrey said RCMP should be enforcing laws against drinking in public.

“There’s a law against it, plain and simple,” he said. “Make them do their job. I pay taxes to make sure this is done.”

Oberdorfer told council he’s been in Thompson since 1985 and intends to stay here but feels that the city needs to make it a more enticing place.

“How do you attract someone into Thompson when the community looks the way it does?”