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City of Powell River council supports application for permanent patio, more seating at brewery

Townsite Brewing seeks further expansion
PROVIDING SERVICE: Temporary expanded service areas, or patios, have been helpful for local liquor establishments during the pandemic, and the province is accepting applications to make them permanent.

City of Powell River council has approved a liquor and cannabis regulation branch (LCRB) structural change application allowing for a permanent patio and increased capacity at Townsite Brewing.

At the November 18 city council meeting, councillors voted in favour of making the temporary expanded service area a permanent licensed patio for up to 14 persons, and increasing the capacity inside from 45 to 58. Councillor Jim Palm was opposed to the recommendation.

In introducing the motion, councillor Rob Southcott said at a previous council meeting, council had approved a similar application for Costa del Sol restaurant, turning a temporary expanded service area into a permanent licensed patio.

“This seems to be a fairly common evolution,” said Southcott. “Townsite Brewing has proven that the outdoor patio is quite successful. Temporary expanded service areas are expiring within the next few months, so they need to be converted. This is the way to do it.

“The other part is to increase the size of the occupancy in the main business area from 45 to 58 persons, with some modification inside. The establishment has proven its popularity, so this makes sense to me as well.”

Part of the recommendation was that the city opts out of providing comment regarding the LCRB application. Southcott said if the city had concerns, it could undertake a consultation with the community, but there is no indication that is required. He said he supported the recommendation.

Palm said the brewery’s location has been wonderful for the community and it’s wonderful for the Townsite area.

“It has served that revitalization purpose well in that locale,” said Palm. “The owner has put a lot of resources into the Townsite area. I have thanked him many times for his due diligence and recreating that Townsite area.

“In terms of opting out, the first time they approached us, I think I spoke against it. We should have proper public notice and allow people to voice their concerns. That was a long time ago. Now, they’ve come back since and they’ve asked for an expanded patio with outdoor seating and they continue to expand their business.”

Palm said his concern was that others who own establishments that serve liquor and food in the area, or within the community, have gone through a lot of rigour to establish their businesses and have paid a lot of money to do so. He said with the approach being used for Townsite Brewing, through the city, without public notice, is circumventing that process.

“My concern is because of the expansion of numbers they are competing against other establishments that are the same size; that was never the intent of the brewery at the start,” said Palm. “They keep coming here and asking and asking for more, and we keep opting out. I’m not exactly sure where the public stands, but I have a feeling that some of those business owners who have paid taxes in our community for a long period of time may feel a little slighted by not having this establishment go through the same rigour and pay the same prices they did to establish their businesses. I wanted to voice that on behalf of those well-established business owners.”