FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – While new liquor laws introduced by the provincial government mean that grocery stores can now apply to sell alcohol, that most likely won’t be the situation at Fort St. John’s grocery stores for the foreseeable future.
A report by Fort St. John’s Director of Development to council at Monday’s meeting explained in detail the changes to BC’s liquor laws, specifically those dealing with the ability of grocery stores to sell alcohol. Under the new rules, eligible grocery stores will be able to sell liquor at a “store-within-a-store”, or sell BC wines directly on store shelves, but not both at the same location. Existing private Licensee Retail Stores and BC Liquor Stores can relocate to a “store-within-a-store” location, provided a separation of one kilometre from an existing liquor store is maintained. Council voted to receive that report for information.
Bill Anderson, a spokesperson for the Minister Responsible for Liquor Distribution Branch clarified that each municipality most enact their own separate bylaws in order to allow changes to take place at grocery stores.
A letter from Stephanie Smith, President of the BCGEU was also received for information by council. In the letter addressed to Mayor Lori Ackerman, Smith wrote to share her concerns regarding the changes to BC’s liquor laws, and recommended that council adopt a one-kilometre distance rule for all liquor retailers, as well as a six-month moratorium on grocery store sales of wine.