The City of White Rock has issued a council resolution supporting the application of Blue Frog Studios for a Liquor Primary License, following a Nov. 7 public hearing that demonstrated an outpouring of community support.
All first-time applications to the LCLB for such licensing require a resolution from the appropriate council for the location.
Blue Frog Studios, at 1328 Johnston Rd., has evolved from a purely recording-oriented facility to a venue staging ongoing intimate concerts.
Owners of the studio, Kelly Breaks and Juanita Vander Zalm, had asked for the licence because the paperwork required for per-event liquor licence applications had become onerous.
The application is based on capacity of 100 people and the conditions that liquor service will be limited to one hour before, during and one hour after an event, with no minors permitted when liquor is being served.
When the application initially came before council, Coun. Bill Lawrence, former co-owner of the Sandpiper Pub and current owner of the Sandpiper Liquor Store on Johnston Road, spoke against it, claiming that it would “dilute” the intent of liquor primary licensing, and might create a possibility of more extended liquor service at the venue.
However, Blue Frog staff member Brenda Rogers read council a statement from Breaks and Vander Zalm – who were unable to attend the hearing – in which they emphasized they are only intending to provide liquor service as they do now, as an adjunct to the enjoyment of concerts by patrons.
“We do not wish to become a nightclub, a bar or some other kind of drinking establishment,” the statement said, adding that the venue and its schedule of concerts appeal to an older audience with an average age of 60.
“We’ve never had a display of public drunkenness or a fight, or had to call the RCMP,” the statement continued.
Several Blue Frog patrons who spoke on behalf of the application said studio events do not involve gatherings of younger drinkers, spill out onto the street, or otherwise impact nearby residents.
Among those who spoke was Ra Maguire, lead singer for the Canadian band Trooper, and a longtime White Rock resident.
“I’ve spent a very large portion of my life (working in) licensed premises,” he said. “Blue Frog is the most civilized of all I’ve encountered. It’s a great contribution to White Rock’s reputation as an arts-friendly city.”