Private liquor stores question grocery sales

MLA John Yap, who is reviewing the province’s liquor laws, is recommending the government allow liquor sales in grocery stores.

The prospect of British Columbians picking up a half-sack of beer while shopping for meat and bread has private liquor store operators nervous.

MLA John Yap, who is reviewing the province’s liquor laws, is recommending the government allow liquor sales in grocery stores.

“We have a huge concern about this,” said Toby Dansereau, with the Eastside Liquor Co.

“Our liquor licenses have value and we have invested a lot into these licenses. What does this mean for that?”

While some polls have suggested public support for increasing access to liquor sales, Dansereau isn’t convinced there is a lack of access.

“In Vernon, there are several liquor stores within a kilometre of each other, it’s widely accessible,” she said.

At the Longhorn Pub, there is a concern that grocery stores will water down the revenue stream for private liquor stores.

“There is only so much money to spend on alcohol,” said Eric Juzwisyn, general manager.

“Ninety per cent of the grocery stores are within 100 yards of a liquor store.”

Juzwisyn says expansion plans at the Longhorn liquor store, which has seven staff, could be on hold because of industry uncertainty.

He also points out that provincial taxpayers benefit from the current system of liquor sales.

“Private liquor stores account for 60 per cent of the tax going into the government. All of this income goes into our health care system, education and roads.”

Juzwisyn is also concerned that expanded access to alcohol could negatively impact individuals who have addiction issues.

“If someone has a liquor abuse problem, they have the choice to go into a liquor store. But if they are in the grocery store and buying milk and eggs and there’s beer there, some people will be tempted,” he said.

In making his recommendation, Yap says grocery store sales of alcohol would meet consumer demand for greater access.

“During the B.C. liquor policy review, I heard loud and clear that today’s retail model  has not kept pace with consumer expectations,” he said.

Yap is recommending a phased-in approach to his model so government and private liquor stores can adjust.

He is also calling for the current cap on the total number of retail outlets to remain, meaning a grocery store would have to buy a liquor license from an existing business.

Yap also recommends that liquor be separated from grocery products.

“By doing this, and by keeping liquor separate from grocery products, we can increase convenience without any increased risk to the health or public safety of British Columbians,” he said.

 

Just Posted

Vernon’s homeless-populated park to get porta potties, despite concerns

Vernon city council votes to install 2 portable units for the summer months

Alleged Vernon shoplifter tracked down by RCMP

Retail store’s loss prevention officer’s description of suspect helps lead to Vernon arrest

North Okanagan student relearns how to take steps forward

The Vernon Convocation starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Vernon campus, OC Facebook to stream event

Tolko donation helps build new daycare in Lumby

The Early Years Daycare Centre is scheduled to open at the end of summer 2019

Vernon businessowner challenges community to display Pride

“A huge reason why I made this challenge for other business was to offer LGBTQ+ community a safe place to eat, chat, shop, and get your haircut”

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

UPDATED: Highway 97 closed between Summerland and Penticton

Accident closes highway in both directions; reopening expected at 10 p.m.

Kelowna Rocket invited to Hockey Canada National Under-17 Development Camp

The 16-year-old was selected by the Rockets 18th overall at the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Okanagan RCMP serve up slices and support for Special Olympics B.C.

Last years inaugural campaign raised more than $12,000

Car window smashed with a bike in Kelowna

A staffer working in the area on the incident says vandalism is a reoccurring problem

Vernon artist featured at Kelowna exhibit

Mariel Belanger one of three female indigenous artists

Kelowna Mayor’s walking tour of Rutland cancelled

Growing issues surrounding supportive housing leads to rescheduled meeting with concerned resident

Hergott: Moral obligations and your will

Lawyer Paul Hergott discusses wills and moral obligation

Most Read