Minister, MLA shoots back at Kamloops council on B.C. wine issue - InfoNews

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Minister, MLA shoots back at Kamloops council on B.C. wine issue

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June 10, 2016 - 6:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Local MLA Todd Stone is not happy with Kamloops council.

The provincial Minister of Transportation and MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson says he’s never been less proud of city council after their decision to block B.C. wine from the shelves of a Sahali grocery store.

“Disappointed is an understatement,” Stone says. “This was an issue I was extremely surprised in council’s decision.”

Kamloops councillors voted May 17 to reject an application from Overwaitea Food Group to use a licence specifically for B.C. wines at its Sahali neighbourhood Save-On-Food store. Local wineries are now concerned about the loss of a store specializing in their products and the grocery company is considering moving the licence to a different municipality if council doesn't change its mind.

Council shouldn’t be putting up barriers to local wineries, Stone says, and halting the use of the licence in the grocery store is a definite obstacle. He says other grocery stores using the same type of licence elsewhere in the province have been a boon to small and mid-sized wineries.

He shot down many of the stated reasons council used to reject the application. He dismissed all stated concerns about international trade agreements as irrelevant. Worries about job losses are “utter nonsense” Stone says, and has doubts any private liquor stores would lay people off wine is on grocery store shelves nearby. 

He says he sees overwhelming support for B.C. wine in grocery stores shelves and wants to see council correct its previous decision.

“I think they’ve gotten it wrong on two prior occasions,” he says. “One can hope three times lucky.”

An appeal is coming to council from the grocery store chain, requesting the city reverse its decision.

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