White Rock council is doing everything within its power to ensure a swift local decision on 3 Dogs Brewing’s new license application.
But that must wait until after a public hearing on the location on Dec. 3 – after which the city will forward its recommendation to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for a final decision.
Council agreed last week to have its vote on the application in a special meeting on the same night as the public hearing, after hearing from staff and owner Scott Keddy that timing is crucial in “making or breaking” the business.
The craft brewery, founded in 2017 and formerly located at Royal Plaza, has been forced by redevelopment plans at the site to move to 1515 Johnston Rd. and because transferring the existing license to the new premises would permit only on-site retail sales and a tasting room, the business is applying for amendments for a lounge and adjacent outdoor patio.
City staff recommended approval, pending results of the public hearing and consideration of potential impacts, with a proviso that patio hours be limited to no later than 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Planning and development services manager Carl Johannsen said the option outlined was “in the interests of helping with the business continuity and assisting the business in relocating in a somewhat more expedient manner.”
Coun. Helen Fathers asked chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill how much difference delaying the decision to the regular council meeting on Dec. 10 would make.
“Does seven days make a difference?” Bottrill said. “I can tell you with my own parents (who) had a (retail) business, December was a huge, huge month for them. Seven days can make a difference.”
He said the provincial turnaround on such an application would typically be two weeks – “but in the interests of helping out a business, we would be encouraging the province to expedite their own decision-making process.”
Couns. David Chesney and Scott Kristjanson both wondered whether having a special meeting the same night as the public hearing would allow enough time to review the input.
“We want to do everything we can for 3 Dogs, and every business in town, to help them, but we also have a responsibility to the people to listen to their input and have time to read that, so I’m torn,” Kristjanson said.
Coun. Christopher Trevelyan however said he had no problem with the earlier meeting: “We ran on a platform of helping business.”
Keddy told council that 3 Dogs has had no bylaw infractions, no attendance by the RCMP and no complaints from neighbours.
“We’ve been shut down now since Oct. 21… we have expenses going on, but we also have staff who rely on us, about 13 or 14 people waiting to get back to work,” he said.
“It’s only the paperwork from the province that is needed for a move of 95 metres…”