Lumby stays out of dispute

Village officials are picking sides in potential selling of liquor distribution system

Lumby politicians aren’t rushing to pick sides in a dispute between the province and its workers.

Council took no action after receiving a request from the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union to oppose the selling of the liquor distribution system.

“We don’t have enough information from either side,” said Mayor Kevin Acton.

“We need to collect more information.”

Lumby officials will pursue the matter further at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September.

Coun. Jo Anne Fisher says she supports the cautious approach.

“I have my own personal views but that’s nothing to do with council making a decision. It’s a big issue,” she said.

The government recently selected four proponents for the proposed privatization of warehouses and distribution services.

“The B.C. government is currently exploring what might be possible and will only move forward if a better service delivery model can be provided by the private sector,” states a government release.

“Any new system would have to demonstrate itself to be more effective and efficient, and provide lower overall costs to government.”

The BCGEU, though, claims privatization will negatively impact communities and the province’s finances.

“In the last five years, the Liquor Distribution Branch we all own contributed a net income of $4.3 billion to help pay for public services such as health, education and highways,” said Darryl Walker, BCGEU president, in a letter to Lumby council.

“The LDB system should not be fractured. The central distribution system and the stores must stay together in one system. It’s what makes it work.”