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Esquimalt B.C. liquor store to close

Esquimalt's only government-run liquor store is set to close Saturday, but the property's new landlord isn't short of offers for use of the site.

The B.C. Liquor Store at the corner of Admirals and Esquimalt roads is closing as part of a land transfer agreement between the Songhees Nation and provincial government inked in February.

In addition to the 0.14-hectare property in Esquimalt, the Songhees will also assume ownership of 0.1 hectares in James Bay and  0.04 hectares in Victoria.

Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam said he can't discuss specifics, but said he's already receiving a lot of attention "from different groups and businesses."

"I'm just getting some meetings going now," Sam said. "We've got to take a look at it all, present it to our community, and move forward on it."

Sam said the First Nation isn't considering selling the land and hasn't committed to tearing down the existing building, but long-term lease options are on the table.

No one will lose their job as a result of the liquor store closure, as all staff and management will be reassigned to other Capital Region branches, said Vince Cournoyer, spokesman for the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch.

The province has no plans to open another Esquimalt branch due to the absence of suitable retail space and other factors, Cournoyer added.

Esquimalt currently has three private liquor stores, while a fourth location at Tudor House Pub burned down in July.

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