A Marine Drive pub co-owned by White Rock’s newest city councillor is temporarily closed after its licence was suspended by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.
A notice posted on the Sandpiper Pub’s front door advises visitors the 15595 Marine Dr. establishment will reopen on Jan. 22. In a nearby front window, a sign advises that the pub’s liquor license has been suspended.
Bill Lawrence – who won a seat on White Rock council in a Nov. 3 byelection – confirmed Monday that the suspension took effect Saturday morning. He said it relates to the pub exceeding its 65-person liquor-licence capacity on a weekend evening early last summer.
“We’ve put an application in to have that changed,” Lawrence said of the limit, noting it is about half of the pub’s actual allowed occupancy.
Lawrence described the limit as “a relic from decades gone by” that both he and the pub’s previous owners had neglected to address.
He doesn’t dispute the allegation – which was determined by an RCMP head count – and said two staff were fired as a result.
“You do your best, you hire the people that you feel are going to get the job done for the business. If they are not able to comply with… regulations and keep things within limits, then they have to be taken to task.”
A new security service has been employed to ensure compliance, Lawrence said, emphasizing patron safety was not an issue.
The penalty is the second time in recent months that a business owned by Lawrence has come under fire from the LCLB.
A $7,500 fine was levied on Oct. 29 after a covert operation caught an employee of Sandpiper Liquor Store, at 1235 Johnston Rd., selling alcohol to a minor.
In addition to a fine of $7,500, Lawrence and Baker had to display a notice in the 1235 Johnston Rd. store’s front window for 10 days advising customers of the offence.
Lawrence told PAN later that month that his employee was ‘entrapped’ by a teen working for the liquor branch’s Minors As Agents Program. The establishment was among 10 visited by the teen on March 12, and one of two where staff did not ask him for ID that day.