South Peace News
Convenience stores in Big Lakes County selling liquor are now legal after council revised a current bylaw.
At its regular meeting May 27, council adopted an amended land-use bylaw to permit liquor sales in convenience stores.
Council gave second and third [final] readings to the bylaw after a quiet public hearing during the meeting.
“No comments or submissions were received,” Pat Olansky, director of planning and development, told council.
The issue of the non-complying convenience stores was discovered after the county received an inquiry from a person who asked about liquor sales in the highway commercial district.
“In reviewing the land-use bylaw, it was determined that liquor sales is a discretionary use in only the hamlet mixed-use district and no others,” Olansky said.
She added several convenience stores in the county had offered liquor sales against the bylaw.
“However, the current land-use bylaw specifically excludes retail liquor sales from convenience retail services,” Olansky told council.
Therefore, existing businesses would be considered non-conforming to the land-use bylaw.
“But in order to bring them into compliance and to accommodate future proposals, the planning department recommends that the land-use bylaw be amended to include liquor sales as a discretionary use in the commercial recreation, hamlet commercial and highway commercial land-use districts,” wrote Olansky in a report to council.
“It will also bring existing businesses into compliance with the land-use bylaw,” she added.
In the current land-use bylaw, wholesale or retail liquor sales and distribution outlets or facilities or cannabis retail stores are not included in the convenience retail services use class.