City of Powell River Council has chosen to make no comment on a liquor licence amendment for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164 in Powell River.
At the council meeting on Thursday, November 7, councillors voted that the director of planning services be delegated the authority to provide written confirmation to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) that the city chooses to opt out and provide no comment to the proposed liquor primary club licence amendment.
In doing so, the city saves the Legion a $2,000 fee to be applied to all applications where the city chooses to opt in.
According to a staff report from city director of planning services Thomas Knight, LCRB provides local governments the opportunity to provide comments on new applications or amendments to liquor primary licence applications. LCRB also provides local governments the ability to opt out of the opportunity to provide comment on these applications. When a local government opts out, LCRB retains the responsibility to gather public input.
According to Knight’s report, in recent years, council has opted out of providing comment for four similar liquor primary licence applications.
At the council meeting, councillor Rob Southcott said there was some question as to why the Legion was pursuing this.
“It’s a minor change to their liquor licence from a club licence to a general licence that isn’t specifically club,” said Southcott. “The reason – I was down there today and happened to ask – is that it is something that is going on across Legions all over BC.
“With a club licence, it restricts guests to only being in the licensed premises when a host is there. In other words, someone typically signs them in. If the guest forgets to sign in, or isn’t signed in by the host, or the host steps out, the Legion can be penalized for breaking the conditions of its licence.”
Southcott said at least one other Legion has been penalized, resulting in a three-day suspension. The licence amendment, he said, is simply to avoid this situation.
“Legions are now going to this simpler licence,” he added, “where they don’t have to have their guests signed in and they are not vulnerable to this regulation.”