Saturday, January 21, 2017

CNV Ponders Liquor Changes

According to our friends at the North Shore News, the City of North Vancouver is in a minor tizzy over some of the new BC liquor laws.   It seems that the fine publicans at Sailor Hagars feel that competition from restaurants, hair dressing salons , and hardware stores could drive them out of business now that those enterprises can also apply to serve liquor to customers.
“Many businesses – once granted a liquor licence – will stretch the rules of their licence to the nth degree,” he wrote in a letter discussed at council Monday. “We already have many food primary licences (restaurants) that act like bars … do we now want to have barber shops and bookstores operating like bars as well?” 
That may be a fair criticism of the Liberal's changes, but to give credit where it's due, they've been promising "liberalized" liquor laws for a few decades without ever delivering much of consequence beyond allowing a tiny handful of supermarkets to also sell BC wine. Let's applaud an actual effort to live up to a campaign promise.

I would love to see small, quiet enough to have a conversation, big-screen TV-free pubs scattered about the North Shore, close enough to walk, and filled with locals and their dogs, but that is apparently far too radical a notion for this province.  I'm still wondering why there isn't a quiet drinks place in Edgemont Village.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with your last paragraph. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in wanting to be able to enjoy a pint from smaller, more intimate venues that aren't ruined by TV's blaring sports, obnoxious 'bros' and 'woo girls' vying for everyones attention, etc. In other words, quiet. A place to have a quiet conversation. I'd also like more options for where to buy beer and wine. I like to walk and would love to have more options within walking distance. I think the 1km rule of separation between venues that sell alcohol makes for a system which forces people into their cars. A short walk to buy beer or wine shouldn't be an unreasonable thing. Jack Lonsdales is reasonably close, but they don't carry the variety I like to see. My next option is any of the BC Liquor Stores but none of them are within reasonable walking distance.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a certain CNV Councillor has got a head start:

Has Councillor Back Unknowingly Disqualified Herself From Civic Office?

Anonymous said...

I don't know the law, so am asking out of curiosity. If the wine isn't being sold to customers, is this really illegal? I can think of plenty of people who offer a drink in places of business to seal or celebrate a deal. Is this an instance of creating a problem where none really exists?

Anonymous said...

"If the wine isn't being sold to customers, is this really illegal."

If they are customers the wine is being sold to them (there is a math term for this type of statement which means "self-evident), whether by the glass or co-mingled with the cost for hair styling.

As for what "Stache" writes regarding Councillor Back being part of the preforiti, I quote from Peter Kennedy, Front Desk Constable, RCMP North Shore Detachment, "We do not investigate municipal governments or municipal staff."

Anonymous said...

Better go check the desk drawer of every business person in North Vancouver then. Better make sure they aren't offering their clients a drink. When are we going to grow up and stop our immature attitudes towards people having a drink anywhere other than at home or in a bar?

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a liquor license for shops like Holly's, but maybe there should be. The license fees should be nominal, only covering the cost to do the paperwork, and maybe contribute to the policing. Plus, they should remove the geographic protection. Protectionist programs like the liquor licenses inadvertently create high value to the license as a commodity itself.

Like the taxi licenses, a scarcity of licenses eventually makes the customer suffer, and makes the regulator a king maker which is a ready ground for corruption.

Barry Rueger said...

It's worth noting that this is an awful lot like the promises of wine in supermarkets: much fanfare, but at the end of the day regulations so tight that only a dozen stores province-wide could actually make it work.

The hoops that a small business would need to jump through to get a licence - including municipal approval - mean that there probably won't be more than a handful of approvals anywhere within driving distance of Lonsdale, and those businesses who are now quietly serving to their customers illegally will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Again, if they aren't charging, is it illegal? Isn't the new proposal designed to allow these new venues to actually charge for drinks being served?

Anonymous said...

They are not explicitly charging, but it is built into the price of the other services. The point the Sailor Hagar guy is making is pubs are struggling, we have lost Churchills, Taylor Creek, The Troller, The Square Rigger, and Pemb Station is on the rocks. He attributes it to restaurants that are operating like pubs such as Boston Pizza, Cactus, Hurricane Grill etc. He wants the license creep to stop as it is hurting his bottom line. I suspect the beautician isn't stealing a single customer from Sailor Hagars, but clarity is good.

Anonymous said...

If the pubs are failing, maybe they need to rethink their business models. Go to Europe/UK and pubs compete with restaurants and cafes that serve alcohol and they are often cheek by jowl. Sailor Hagar guy wants protectionism. Good for him, bad for other businesses who would like the opportunity to give customers what they want.

Barry Rueger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry Rueger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry Rueger said...

Comments alleging corruption or gift-giving to politicians have been moved to The Designated Corruption Thread.

Lyle Craver said...

I seriously doubt the customer will suffer if the sale of booze is restricted to liquor stores, bars/nightclubs and restaurants (and possibly groceries). (Or the occasional Lions/Canucks games)

I think our system is somewhat reasonable and while it could use a few tweaks here and there I don't think the system's broken.

For instance I do think the independent liquor stores associated with bars should be adjacent to bars and I do think it's ridiculous a bar should have a right to have a store far from the bar but that's an annoyance not a show-stopper.

Extending it to places where food and drink isn't normally served is just goofy.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to say " in my opinion". Personally, I want to be given the choice of buying beer and wine in grocery stores or other venues as we see in more mature countries. Stop treating me like an irresponsible teenager where it comes to alcohol. Crack down on the idiots who can't consume responsibly and leave the rest of us to enjoy a bottle of wine at the beach, cafe or salon.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear! The changes the Province made to the Grocery rules were non-sensical. In the states you can buy the wine/beer/spirits with your groceries, simple, in BC you have to buy you groceries, then move to a segregated area to purchase your beverages. How is that any different from what we had before?

Lyle Craver said...

"I seriously doubt"
"I think"
"For instance I do think"

Is it not completely obvious that I am stating my opinion? Yet somehow I fail to use the words "in my opinion" in my final sentence and I'm a bad person?

Besides - I said 'where food and drink isn't normally served' - that definitely includes groceries. If the service provided by a grocery isn't food what is it?

I think I can do without a beer when visiting my barber.

Anonymous said...

I am generally supportive of relaxing alcohol availability, such as theatres, beaches and parks (No Glass), and more outdoor patios, but it doesn't need to be available everywhere. I get that some people take a trip to the hair dresser a lot more seriously than Lyle does, maybe there is room in places that really are selling the experience. 1 hour appointment Ok, $100+ in services ok, one drink max ok, but it would be strange to drink a beer with my measly haircut.

Also, there are a lot of people who struggle with addiction and alcohol dependency, and I think alcohol availability needs to be managed to the point that it is reasonably easy to avoid.