Thursday, September 10, 2015

Proposed Liquor Store In Brooks Landing

Application to transfer licence from Howard Johnson

There is an application before city council this coming Monday asking for the liquor store licence currently at the Howard Johnson, 1 Terminal Ave. be transferred to Brook's Landing Centre and occupy the store previously used by West Marine.

The 24 page staff report details the many considerations made to determine the staff recommendation which concludes that while the RCMP support the move, staff are not recommending the application due to proximity to schools in the area.

The letter from the RCMP states they support the application to move the liquor retail store from the Howard Johnson Hotel site on Terminal Avenue to the Brooks Landing shopping centre. Included in their letter is reference to frequency of public intoxication, consumption of liquor, disturbances and homeless encampments are correlated to the proximity of this retail liquor store. It goes on to say that alcohol-related disturbances continuously have a deleterious impact on venues hosted in Maffeo Sutton Park.

The report from the RCMP does acknowledge the potential for alcohol-related incidents to arise from the existence of a liquor retail store at Brooks Landing, however the street-context is much different than the area around the current retail store site.

Interpretation of distance from school sticking-point

Under current LRS rezoning criteria it is recommended that a LRS not be within 150m of a school. However, it is not specified how that is to be measured. If the distance is measured from the property line of the LRS to the property line of the schools it falls within the 150m recommendation. However, if measured from door to door (a method used by the Province when locating liquor stores from each other) the LRS is not within the 150m distance.

This is an example of what sounds like a fairly straightforward decision coming down to how staff chooses to interpret a rule which has support for measuring the distance from the door of the LRS to the door of the school rather than from property line to property line. In this case both the schools and the LRS are set well back from their legal property lines. 

If the interpretation of this single rule is the 'deal breaker' perhaps if staff asked that question first of the applicant considerable time and money could be saved by all parties concerned. However, council is not bound by the staff recommendation and should they interpret the rule differently, they can still give first three readings to the rezoning application.


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