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Sidney council says cheers to two liquor license expansion applications

Plans by Beacon Brewing to lengthen service hours drew strongest opposition
Despite concerns about the noise from residents living near Beacon Brewing, Sidney council has sent an unanimous signal of support for the nano-brewery’s application to extend its hours of service to 11 p.m. daily. (Black Press Media file photo).

A Sidney councillor praised a local brewery for wanting to extend its liquor service hours.

Coun. Barbara Fallot made that comment as she and her colleagues sent an unanimous signal of support for plans by Beacon Brewery to amend hours of service to 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The current license allows a closing time of 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

While only the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch can approve or deny applications, municipalities can shape them by signalling support or opposition after gathering the views of the public.

“One of the comments (on social media) is that Sidney rolls up its sidewalks at 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and here we have a business that is clearly trying to look to stay open later and they firmly believe that the clients are going to be there,” she said. “I see this as a good news.”

Not everyone agrees.

Sidney staff told councillors that among the 22 submissions received by the municipality, the number of those critical of the application outweighed supportive ones.

RELATED: Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre, Beacon Brewing tap province for expanded service

Michel Lafortune, who lives above the ground-floor business in the same building, was among those opposed.

“(This) is absolutely not acceptable for a residential building and I think the owner (has) no consideration whatsoever about any tenant living in the building,” he wrote. “(It)’s all about money, money and money, but what about us, about the peace and quiet … we have right now?”

Current hours suffice, he added.

Staff acknowledged the concerns, but also pointed out the area is a mixed-use zone. “This is the right place for this type of use,” said Corey Newcomb, Sidney’s senior manager of long-range planning. While 11 p.m. “is getting late,” he said, “for a commercial downtown area, that seems to be a reasonable time frame.”

Coun. Sara Duncan agreed, noting the business does not plan to be open until 11 p.m. every night. They just want the ability to do so, she said.

At the same meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to support plans by the Mary Winspear Centre to permanently expand its liquor service area to include spaces in and outside the centre, including the outdoor space off the Charlie White Theatre lobby, and the courtyard next to Bodine Hall.

That application drew three public submissions, all in favour, staff said.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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