One of the thorniest issues to tie up City council affairs in recent years — whether to permit a VQA wine store at Save-On-Foods — is back before a public hearing on July 12.
With the exception of Coun. Donovan Cavers, councillors voted Tuesday to hold a second public hearing on the matter, having first voted down a development variance permit on May 17.
At that juncture, Overwaitea management couldn’t see how it could get past the City’s decision, but a Save-On delegation was back at City Hall on June 14 asking council to reconsider a reworded motion. That motion, minus references to hard liquor produced from rice and honey, now clearly states B.C. VQA wines only will be sold at the store within a store.
Still, there were some doubts around the council table Tuesday. Coun. Tina Lange noted that the provincial government states on its website that it is changing all VQA-only stores into specialty wine stores that carry more than B.C. products.
“I’m assuming they would get the go-ahead from the B.C. Wine Institute,” Lange said of the move. In that case, would the variance stand or would it be superseded by the province’s change? The question couldn’t be answered Tuesday.
“Heads up, we’ll be asking,” Lange warned City staff in advance of the public hearing.
Cavers said he still won’t reconsider the May decision as a matter of principle: “It’s basically an issue that’s being dumped on us by the provincial government.”
The only unfortunate aspect of the whole matter has been the way councillors’ views have been misconstrued in the media, said Coun. Pat Wallace.
“I think people should ask you what your intent and understanding was so most people who supported us don’t think there was a misunderstanding,” she said.
Coun. Marg Spina said the reworded motion constitutes new information and therefore warrants a second look.
Due to a potential strike by Canada Post, the notices of intent will be distributed to surrounding property owners by courier.