Province promises to change liquor policy

Liquor branch says ‘minor’ changes led to denial of permit for Belfry

The minister responsible for liquor in B.C. has promised to take a “common sense” approach and repeal a law that shut down a local arts fundraiser.

The Belfry Theatre was forced to cancel its annual Crush wine auction, scheduled for Oct. 28, after being denied a special occasion licence 10 days previous.

At the time, the theatre was told provincial regulations prohibit the auctioning of alcohol unless it is first purchased directly from a government branch or agent.

On Friday, Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman announced charities can still auction gift baskets containing alcohol.

But they will have to wait until the government repeals a key section of the law that was only recently applied to wine-only auctions.

“Our goal is to get rid of these outdated liquor laws that unnecessarily restrict British Columbians and to regulate alcohol responsibly in the process,” Coleman said in a statement.

Ivan Habel, general manager of the Belfry, said the announcement comes too late for his fundraiser, but he is happy the province is tackling the issue.

“While placing wine in gift baskets may be the government’s temporary fix, it is certainly not a long-term solution for the sector,” Habel said in a statement.

“We anxiously await further clarity on the auctioning of wine as a fundraising activity, which is still prohibited.”

Questions remain on why the policy governing charity wine auctions was revised nearly four months ago without charity consultation.

A spokesperson for the Liquor Control and Licensing Board said a policy directive was not issued at the time “because the law and policy remained the same.”

But a May 2012 version of the special occasion licence policy manual reveals significant revisions were made to the sections governing charitable donations and wine auctions in June.

In the older manual, section 4.6 stated: “Liquor, including donated liquor, may be auctioned at a licensed special occasion to raise funds for charity.”

The revised manual states: “Only liquor which has been purchased by the SOL holder or liquor which has been donated by a manufacturer or agent, may be auctioned at a licensed special occasion to raise funds for a registered charity.”

An additional revision (section 4.4) states that only a liquor manufacturer or agent can donate alcohol for charity events.

The word “only” does not appear in the earlier version.

A ministry spokesperson responded to requests for comment on the policy change by saying the changes were “minor.”

“We had some queries and we wanted to make sure the policy was clear.” the spokesperson said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

BREAKING: Reports of a shooting on Happy Valley Road in Langford

Reports of a shooting in the 3400-block of Happy Valley Road in… Continue reading

Esquimalt requests public feedback as it plans for plastic bag ban

An online survey aims to gather information before the ban comes into effect in January 2020

Pacific FC puts its best foot forward for inaugural game

Players ‘counting down’ to kick-off day

Belmont students help West Shore residents spring out of hunger

Spring Out Of Hunger food drive takes place on April 24

Motorcyclist taken to hospital with undetermined injuries after crash in Oak Bay

Two-vehicle collision occurred Tuesday morning shortly before 11 a.m.

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Most Read