The government has informed local cold beer and wine store owners that provincial liquor stores will not extend their new Sunday openings long-term.
MLA Joan McIntyre said she spoke to Minister Rich Coleman this week and was informed that the openings will last through the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics and then revert back at the end of March. The hours are intended to meet the demand of the 55,000 people expected in Whistler each day over the course of the Games.
"The intent is to go back (to the previous hours)," said McIntyre.
Andrew Ellott, owner of the Nester's Cold Beer and Wine Store, said McIntyre called him this week to tell him that two government liquor stores in Whistler would keep Sunday hours only through the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The village liquor store, which has been open on Sunday for a couple of years, will keep its Sunday hours.
The news was met with relief.
"I'm pleased that it proves that small businesses and small business owners do have a voice and can be heard... if they can articulate the issues clearly," said Ellott.
He had vigorously protested the new Sunday openings through letters to the provincial ministry, to McIntyre and to Whistler council, highlighting the impact to his business and the two other cold beer and wine stores in town.
The owners noticed distinct declines in their businesses after the government stores opened on Sunday, Dec. 6. The private stores were given no prior warning of the change and were caught off guard.