Nanaimo city councillors deny request to move Tally-Ho liquor store licence

NANAIMO – The Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotel won't be allowed to move its liquor license to Brooks Landing Shopping Centre.

The Tally-Ho Beer and Wine store won’t be hanging its shingle at Brooks Landing Shopping Centre.

Nanaimo city councillors stopped a rezoning application Monday for a liquor store at Brooks Landing, with concerns about fairness and proximity to schools.

While others have expressed interest in selling beer and wine at Brooks Landing, the Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotel is believed to be the first liquor-licence owner in recent times to apply for rezoning.

The Tally-Ho Beer and Wine store has to move because of a hotel and sports arena multiplex proposed for the property at the corner of Comox Road and Terminal Avenue. Dan Brady, general manager of the hotel, also said that 20 years ago, Tally-Ho was the only liquor store downtown. That was no longer the case when council allowed the Occidental, Quarterway and the Foundry and business has “never ever recovered.”

Rezoning was applied for Brooks Landing despite warning by city staff they would not support the application, citing the need to review the liquor control strategy. Staff also said consistency was needed after other liquor stores were previously discouraged from that site.

Brady told council 73 recommendations on liquor licensing changes indicates things have changed in B.C.

But the majority of councillors expressed concern about its proximity to Woodlands Secondary and Cilaire Elementary schools, which are across the street on either side of the mall. City criteria restricts liquor stores from being within 150 metres of a school.

“When you are around a school, particularly a high school, bootlegging is an issue and I’d rather err on the side of more caution than less caution in approving liquor sales close to schools,” said Coun. Diane Brennan.

Brady did not respond to requests for further comment.

Michele Delesalle, owner of Vancouver Island Liquor in Departure Bay, spoke against the application at Monday’s council meeting.

“We asked for consistency and they delivered,” she said.

Council voted 5-3, with Mayor Bill McKay and councillors Jerry Hong and Bill Yoachim opposed. The trio wanted to see the issue go to public hearing. Coun. Bill Bestwick was not in attendance.

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