One of the key recommendations from the 2013 Liquor Policy
Review Final Report in BC was that liquor should be made available
in grocery stores. Earlier this year, the Liquor Control and
Licensing Branch (LCLB) implemented this recommendation by issuing
a policy directive, effective April 1, 2015, that describes how
grocery stores may sell liquor. However, as readers of this blog in
BC will have noticed, very few grocery stores have started selling
liquor. In fact, currently only one grocery store is doing so: the
Save-On-Foods in Surrey. Why is this? As described below, there are
two significant impediments.
The first is a licencing impediment. A grocery store wishing to
sell liquor requires either a licensee retail store (LRS) or wine
store licence. An LRS licence permits the sale of beer, wine,
cider, coolers and a full range of spirits. There are two relevant
types of wine store licence: an independent wine store licence,
which permits the sale of any kind of domestic or imported wine
product, including cider and wine coolers, and a VQA wine store
licence, which permits the sale of VQA wine only. Importantly, the
LCLB is not issuing new LRS or wine store licences. Accordingly, if
a grocery store wishes to sell liquor it must arrange for an
existing licence to be relocated to the grocery store. For LRS
licences, this is exceedingly difficult. The LCLB does not permit
an LRS licence to be relocated within one kilometre of an existing
LRS or government liquor store. The Vancouver Sun previously
reported that only two of Vancouver's 53 large grocery stores
are far enough away from an existing LRS and government liquor
store to have an LRS licence relocated to them (see http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Only+grocery+stores+Vancouver+will+able+sell+liquor/9624538/story.html).
Wine store licences are not subject to the same one kilometre
relocation rule. However, there are fewer of these licences: there
are currently only 12 independent wine store licences and 21 VQA
wine store licences in BC. Moreover, even if a grocery store
looking to complete the relocation of a wine store licence is able
to satisfy the LCLB's relocation and other policy requirements,
it must still worry about the second impediment: satisfying
municipal requirements. For example, in July 2015 the City of
Vancouver rejected a proposed VQA wine store within the Urban Fare
at the Shangra-La Hotel on Alberni Street because it was too close
to an existing government liquor store, and accordingly did not
comply with City rules. That wine store – which the grocery
store had already constructed in the mistaken belief it would be
approved – currently sits empty. It remains to be seen how
accommodating other municipalities will be.
In short, although it is likely BC consumers will see a small
but increasing number of grocery stores offering wine (most likely
VQA wine) on their shelves, there is unlikely to be a sea change in
the way liquor is sold privately in BC under the new rules.
The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that courts will generally support and uphold decisions of condominium directors because they are better positioned than judges to make decisions pertaining to their buildings.
According to the city bylaws in Calgary, the grading of lots for new buildings must be done properly so that the water never flows toward the new building or any other nearby properties, but away from those buildings.
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