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New criteria for wine in Nanaimo grocery stores

Some politicians expressed concerns with new rezoning criteria for wine in grocery stores, including that it's an 'expensive proposition.'

Nanaimo grocery stores interested in stocking wine will have new rezoning criteria to meet.

Nanaimo city council agreed to rezoning criteria for grocery stores wanting to sell wine, despite concerns from some politicians the new process is restrictive and expensive.

The B.C. government has rolled out new changes to liquor control legislation and policy, allowing select grocery stores to carry B.C. wine, cider and sake if they meet provincial standards and get a licence. In Nanaimo, those stores will also have to apply to rezone and meet criteria like a floor plan showing the wine sales area and written assurances from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch they meet provincial criteria.

Coun. Jim Kipp was concerned the rezoning is an “expensive proposition” while Coun. Bill Bestwick said it speaks to red tape and bureaucracy. Other councillors argued the issue had already been debated or that this process gives the community a chance to have a say.