No booze in Save-On Foods

By James Peters / Chad Klassen / Chad Harris
May 17, 2016 - 2:08pm Updated: May 17, 2016 - 6:49pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops council is going with the status quo, quashing an attempt by Save-On Foods to sell BC wine at its Summit Drive grocery store.

The grocery giant was asking for a variance to a bylaw not allowing new liquor licenses within one kilometre of existing license-holders.

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

Councillor Ken Christian was one of two councillors to support the variance.

"We shouldn't be involved protectionism. I think we should allow the free market to dictate where and when things are going to be sold within the confines of the legislation that the government has provided with respect to the sale of alcohol to minors," said Christian. 

But the majority of Councillors sided with private liquor store owners who came to argue the impact the variance would have on their sales, including Councillor Tina Lange.

"Save-On Foods will survive absolutely without selling wine in their aisles, but I'm not so sure that all the private liquor stores are going to do so well if Save-On gets this license. In fact, I believe they will suffer," said Lange.

After the vote, owner of the Sahali Liquor Store Al Deacon said Council made the right decision. "Council stuck to their guns from August 2015 and looked at everything presented," says Deacon. "They voted in August to keep the one-kilometer rule. It protects business. The social impact of the over-consumption of alcohol is huge in every community, so City Councillors recognized that and voted right today." Deacon says his store will be able to retain its staff now after fears it would have to lay people off. After concerns from the Kamloops Wine Association raised at Council that there's not enough local wine at liquor stores, Deacon says he supports the four local wineries. "We support local vineyards, we support them in a huge way. We promote the heck out of them because it only makes good business for ourselves."

Voted against:

  • Pat Wallace
  • Marg Spina
  • Donovan Cavers
  • Denis Walsh
  • Tina Lange

Voted in favour:

  • Ken Christian
  • Dieter Dudy

Mayor Peter Milobar and Councillor Arjun Singh recused themselves from the debate to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The Overwaitea Food Group is a division of the Jim Pattison Group, who also owns CFJC Today.

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