Wineries director suspects 'gross misuse of process' in council's about-face
By Dana Reynolds
Image Credit: Shutterstock
August 19, 2015 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – Local wineries thought they’d won a victory only to have it taken away yesterday, August 18, by city council and Coun. Pat Wallace in particular: They will effectively be blocked from selling B.C. wines in grocery stores thanks to a new city bylaw.
Wallace originally voted during against a plan to create a one-kilometre buffer between liquor vendors in the city. After a change of heart, she reintroduced the motion in council and reversed the outcome, making the one-kilometre rule a bylaw.
Trish Morelli, the director of the Kamloops Wineries Association, says her members were shocked and disappointed.
“Is there a conflict of interest going on, or gross misuse of process? Voters are wondering,” she says, adding: “Who spoke to council?”
Morelli is shocked also that the issue of B.C. wines in grocery stores “turned into a huge political battle.”
She questions how the motion can be brought to council only to be voted on again. She says her association has lost some confidence in city council.
“All we wanted was a fair process,” Morelli says.
Wallace, however, says there was no procedural issues at all.
“Those who know me, know I’m given to make up my mind and stick to it,” she says adding she’s rarely had a change of heart while serving on council.
“I was taken by a comment that to have this motion pass was protectionism,” she says. Thinking on it more, she felt she voted for a different kind of protectionism in favour of grocery stores.
Wallace says grocery stores would have an unfair advantage over private vendors because their means of procuring a license would not be subject to the same procedures.
“Grocery stores don't go through any process,” she says.
The councillor does not foresee challenges to existing liquor vendors. Stores that exist currently within a kilometre of each other would not be forced to move.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015