The owners of Rusted Rake Farm plan to establish a brewery, food and beverage service lounge on their property in Nanoose Bay.
Jodie Lucas and William Gemmel have applied to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for a lounge and special event endorsement but require the support of the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The RDN board adopted the Liquor Licence Amendment Application on Oct. 27 but directed staff to withhold signing the application form and submitting it to the LCRB until the owners resolve any outstanding bylaw issues. They include building permits and variance for a bridge crossing built across Nanoose Creek as well as final inspection of the proposed brewery.
The Rusted Rake Farm previously operated a restaurant on the property but had to shut it down when the owners’ application for a non-farm use in the Agricultural Land Reserve to permit a restaurant and brewery to operate was denied by the Agricultural Land Commission last year.
The owners propose to establish the Rusted Rake Brewery, with an accessory food and beverage service lounge that would operate from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. The plan is to move the current brewery to a proposed addition next to building that used to be the restaurant.
They also want a licence to be able to serve alcohol outdoors at a designated special event area located west of the brewery in the farm, with a capacity to accommodate a maximum of 150 people, and also allow them to host a maximum of 10 events per year.
RDN staff indicated in its report to the board on Oct. 8 the proposed special event endorsement complements the nature of the proposed brewery and food and beverage service lounge by providing guests with a unique opportunity to enjoy beer produced with local grain as well as food prepared using ingredients sourced from the subject property. However, the RDN has to consider noise impacts, parking and traffic implications on the community.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a public hearing was not held but residents were invited to provide feedback and submit questions using virtual engagement. There is significant support and no opposition to the proposed lounge but for the special event endorsement, three residents near the proposed special events area were against it, citing traffic, noise and parking concerns.
The owners, staff stated, are willing to compromise to address their concerns by limiting the number, size, duration and length of the events. They also have applied for required building permit applications to address outstanding building bylaw infractions.