It’s something city council was likely not expecting to hear during a public hearing regarding a liquor licence application for a brew pub - a plea to consider the social impacts of addiction.
Council was asked at the Apr. 18 hearing to support the application by Buffalo Rouge Brewing to the province.
During public comments Devan Gaffney, appearing via video, asked council to find a balance when approving establishments that serve liquor.
He said readily available research shows alcohol is linked to domestic violence, public disorder, impaired judgement, as well as an increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviour including drugs.
“If we’re going to be bringing in another brewery, another winery…what about the addiction supports that are publicly available,” he asked.
Gaffney, who explained that he recently lost someone close to him to addiction, wanted council to consider the impact of alcohol and drugs on society.
“If we start to brand Kelowna as brewery central, as wine central…I think there needs to be a balance so we can be helping the people out there who are dying.”
Gaffney said that he was not against or in favour of Buffalo Rouge’s application, and added he would likely visit when it opened.
He then asked for a moment of silence which Mayor Tom Dyas granted.
Development Planning Manager Terry Barton was asked by Coun. Gord Lovegrove to comment on any public concerns regarding the city’s brewery district.
“I would agree with the speaker that the overall popularity of the brewpubs over the last few years has been significant,” said Barton. “We get a lot of feedback that people appreciate these types of facilities, notwithstanding some of the consequences that were mentioned.”
In referring to Gaffney’s comments, Lovegrove said the topic could be a discussion on another day with staff.
“They are appropriate comments made about a much wider social issue,” added Lovegrove. “At some point, it would be nice to take a step back…about the wider issues that we’re dealing with in our community…and is one of our council priorities.”
Council voted unanimously to support the licence application.