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Council votes against moving Creekside BC Liquor Store

Project's fate now lies with developer

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The potential relocation of Creekside's BC Liquor Store has hit a major bump in the road.

On Tuesday, March 6, council voted in support of an amendment to a rezoning application that, if passed, would prohibit the sale of packaged liquor at the proposed new site of the provincial liquor outlet.

Proponents Creekside Plaza Ltd. relayed plans to relocate the liquor store from its current location to 2011 Innsbruck Drive, across the street, after there were grumblings that the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) was not satisfied with decreasing foot traffic on Franz's Trail.

In proposing the amendment, Coun. Jack Crompton expressed hope that Franz's Trail's new owners, Kaori and Ray Zage, would be able to reinvigorate business in the area.

"Franz's Trail was a planned development that had an intention of having grocery, liquor, with other uses, and I am hopeful that we will be able to see this development be successful if we give it a chance," he said.

Other councillors echoed Crompton's remarks, concerned that moving the liquor store away from Creekside Market would unnecessarily inconvenience patrons.

"Do we want people to drive to the grocery store, then hop in their car and drive across the street to the liquor store — which is probably what they'll do," asked Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. "It doesn't make a lot of sense."

Still, there was concern around the council table that the decision could stymie development across the street on Innsbruck Drive. Proponents there had planned to rejuvenate the highly visible corner by demolishing and replacing the existing Boston Pizza building at 2010 Innsbruck Dr. and adding four employee-housing units. They've also already invested $1.3 million to improve the property since purchasing it eight years ago.

"The developer has put a lot of time and effort into this... so it's a risk by taking away the liquor component. The project could stall here, and I'm very concerned about that," said Coun. John Grills.

Lance Bright of Snowsun Ventures, which operates Roland's Beer and Wine Store across the highway, sees the possible relocation as a predatory attempt on his business from the Liquor Distribution Board.

Bright was also responsible for pointing out errors in the RMOW's original planning report at a public hearing on the rezoning amendment held last month. It turns out municipal planners had confused two addresses involved in the rezoning, 2010 and 2011 Innsbruck. Provincial rules dictate that retail liquor stores cannot be located within a kilometre of an existing store.

While 2011 Innsbruck Dr. is considered far enough away from Roland's, 2010 (the existing Boston Pizza building) is not. Bright's concern, then, was that the LDB could move into the existing building at 2011 before relocation to 2010 at a later date, which would be legal since both addresses are on the same land parcel identifier.

The mix-up forced council to rescind second reading of the bylaw amendment at Tuesday's meeting. With the proper address in place, officials then gave second reading to the revised proposal, after which Crompton made an amendment to remove the sale of packaged liquor from the proposed uses at the site. It passed in a vote of six to one.

Now, the ball rests in the proponent's hands. The developer can choose to proceed with the rezoning amendment, which would trigger another public hearing, before moving onto third reading and eventual adoption.

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