Kelowna doesn't drink like it used to, RCMP say

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KELOWNA - Drinking habits are changing in Kelowna — more craft breweries, fewer nightclubs — and the city needs an updated liquor policy to reflect that, RCMP say in the latest liquor license application to go before council.

Ricco Bambino Wines Inc. wants to open an “urban winery” in a building on Pandosy Street near Leon Avenue under a manufacturer’s lounge liquor license.

City planners fully support the development of the 57-seat winery and 20-seat outdoor patio and so do the Kelowna RCMP, who are asked to comment on all liquor license applications to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.

Where they disagree is on the hours of operation, with planners supporting a nine a.m. opening and a midnight closing.

In a report to council, planner Trisa Atwood notes the Kelowna RCMP believe the place should close earlier (10 p.m.) and continue to press council for changes to licensing policies and procedures for liquor primary and manufacturers lounge endorsement applications.

“Until such time as the new liquor policy can be established, the RCMP’s suggestion on hours of sales is more conservative than staff’s guidelines,” Atwood says.

Community planning manager Ryan Smith agrees with the RCMP on the need for a liquor regulation update, but says staff see policy for cannabis sales and short term rentals as a priority.

Smith said staff has also been waiting to see how the effects of liquor deregulation at the provincial level would play out.

“The city took a wait-and-see approach to see where the challenges might be before creating new policy,” Smith says.

Smith agrees the current regulation does not adequately cover the craft breweries and wineries that have sought licensing from the city in recent years.

“The regulation was created when we were having lots of problems with large nightclubs,” Smith adds. “It doesn’t recognize the smaller liquor primary and craft brewery applications we are getting.”

While staff have proven more liberal than the RCMP on some recent liquor primary applications, Smith said they would almost certainly be on the same page should a large nightclub application come before council.

“We certainly respect their concerns. And they are going to be a partner in the creation of the policy,” Smith said.

Council will consider the request for support at a public hearing beginning 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 10 at Kelowna City Hall. Council will hear submissions from people who believe they are affected by the application.


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