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Wine would be winning addition to markets

August 18, 2014 - 4:21 PM

KAMLOOPS - The province now allows liquor to be sold at farmers markets but city staff are not quite ready to make the leap, suggesting council move to a public hearing first if they wish to explore the possibility.

Shawn Haley, co-chair of the Kamloops Regional Farmers Market Society, is requesting the city approve a permit for the market that would allow liquor sales which in turn would allow local wineries interested in becoming vendors as well.

Haley says there has been significant interest in having wine at the market and other markets have benefited from an increase in patrons to markets with liquor sales.

“For Kamloops this is an opportunity to showcase local food and drink,” he says in a letter to council. “Which can help in the promotion of tourism of the area and helping people to experience the beauty and flavours of the Kamloops region.”

Haley points to White Rock, Victoria, Creston and Insterslake as examples of cities supporting liquor sales at markets.

Development Services Director Marvin Kwiatkowski says council could authorize an amendment to the existing permit to allow for liquor sales or sampling at the current farmers market locations but suggests a referral or public input process should be used as a first step before allowing the sales or sampling of alcohol from an unzoned city road right-of-way.

This process would allow for a look at liability, number of vendors and location as well as an opportunity for the public to comment. Staff would report back in September and provide recommendations on whether it should be supported, if any conditions should be considered and application fees.

Currently Penticton and Vernon do allow the sale of alcohol at markets and Kelowna requires rezoning, and has not yet received an application from the local farmers market. The province made the decision in June to allow the sale of alcohol at farmers markets.

Council briefly discussed the issue at a July meeting and seemed to lean towards public input. Both Coun. Donovan Cavers and Mayor Peter Milobar have chosen to not get involved in the discussion because of possible conflicts of interest with family and business ties.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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