Fort St. John stakeholders offer ideas on liquor law changes

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

“I’ve heard feedback from folks who are in the pub business,” he uses as an example. “I do understand their perspectives, how their business has changed over the years, so they were giving me their stories, and that’s important for me to hear.”

Yap also points to the Lido Theatre’s owner Brian Kirschner as having taken an innovative approach to revitalize an old business. As almost every community has an old movie theatre, he argues others may be able to follow Kirschner’s lead. 

“He’s now created a model that perhaps can apply to other communities that want this, where old-type movie theatres that are no longer movie theatres can be revived as a thriving live show venue.” 

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The Lido also benefited from a 2012 change in liquor laws that allow it to serve alcohol during the screening of a film or sporting events.

Throughout his tour of the province, and through the review’s website, Yap says the most common feedback he’s gotten has been on how convenient it is when British Columbians travel to the U.S. or certain other provinces and can purchase liquor in convenience and grocery stores. 

“I see how convenient it is for people,” he maintains. “You can go into a grocery store, you’re picking up some eggs and milk, and you can pick up a bottle of wine.” 

Yap has met with stakeholders on all sides of the equation, from liquor producers, distributors and servers, as well as people involved in health and public safety, law enforcement and local government. His report, which is due by November 25, will include a number of recommendations for some “common sense” updates to some long-standing regulations. 

The public has until October 31 to submit their input online on the liquor policy review website.

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