City of Powell River Council will opt out of providing comment on a proposed change to a liquor licence held by Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164.
Instead, the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) will hold consultations tied to an application to serve liquor on a proposed 50-person deck to be constructed on the west side of the Legion facility, facing Willingdon Avenue.
At the council meeting on Thursday, June 6, councillors declined taking part in the opportunity to provide comment on new and structural changes to liquor primary licence applications, which is consistent with recent city policy.
In recent years, council has opted out of providing comment for similar primary applications at Townsite Brewing and That Sugar Vault. If council had decided to opt in, a city bylaw establishes a $2,000 fee to be applied to the application to compensate for staff time and costs associated with the process.
The city did take the time, however, to consult with neighbours most closely affected by the proposal to construct the deck at the Legion. Chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said council had given direction at the June 4 committee of the whole meeting to reach out to the most affected residents, so he and councillor Rob Southcott knocked on five doors, connecting with three of the residents.
“We had great discussions with them,” said Brewer. “Generally, they were in favour of what the Legion was proposing. It was very constructive engagement with them.”
During the discussions, Brewer said there was some feedback on the Legion, recommendations for speed limits on Willingdon Avenue and comments about parking on Willingdon.
He said he left his phone number at the remaining two residences and one replied, with concerns being expressed over the hours of operation, which will not be changed.
Southcott said the proposed new exterior sundeck is 54 by 12 feet in size and that the addition was within zoning requirements for the location.
He said the Legion wants to change the terms of the liquor licence to allow patrons of the bar to take their drinks onto the deck.
Councillor Cindy Elliott said the door knocking was to assure council that the neighbours would be okay with council opting out of the consultative process.
“The city is trying to accommodate the Legion without compromising the needs of the neighbours,” said Elliott.
According to a staff report, the Legion’s deck will be able to accommodate 50 people, but as per the Legion’s application to the LCRB, the occupant load will remain the same at 415 patrons, plus staff, so this means there will be no additional washrooms or parking spaces required.
The staff report indicated that the addition of the outdoor deck has the potential to create disturbance to surrounding property owners, but the city can regulate the use of this outdoor space through the inclusion of additional conditions of use on the Legion’s business licence. This could include limiting hours of operation for the outdoor deck space if it is found that noise is an issue for surrounding property owners.