Liquor store to leave downtown
Word of mouth isn’t how some on city council expected to learn that Salmon Arm’s government liquor store is moving from one mall to another.
BC Liquor Distribution Branch spokesperson Tarina Palmer confirmed Tuesday that the liquor store will be moving from the Shuswap Park Mall to Centenoka Park Mall.
“The development of a new store will enable BC Liquor Stores to improve the selection and presentation of products to our customers,” said Palmer in an email, adding the Liquor Distribution Branch doesn’t “solicit public input” for store locations.
Regardless, at the end of their regular meeting Monday, council approved a late motion by Coun. Alan Harrison to write a letter to the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, asking that the decision to move the liquor store be reconsidered “until consultation with the City of Salmon Arm takes place.”
“The fact that I think most of us found out about the move of the liquor store on the street, or from somebody else, it seems to me that consultation piece is lacking,” said Harrison.
The impact the move will have on the downtown core is also a concern for Harrison.
Advised by city administrator Carl Bannister that she wouldn't be in conflict of interest, Coun. Debbie Cannon, an employee at the Safeway in Centenoka, commented the mall is part of downtown and said she wouldn’t support council deciding where a government liquor store can go.
"I think to give Shuswap Park Mall that exclusivity, that it should stay as a tenant in their mall, is something I would never be able to support," said Cannon. "And I don't really know where our jurisdiction is in this, but I think business is business. Anyone, any commercial property owner would love to have the BC Liquor Store as a tenant, so I don't think it's our place as council to get involved in that."
Coun. Marg Kentel took issue with the potential impact the liquor store at Centenoka might have on a neighbouring private liquor outlet.
Coun. Ken Jamieson stressed the liquor store is a government service, and he agreed the city should have had some say in the process.
“We’re not in that loop and I think as a city government, we should have been consulted in some way,” said Jamieson.
Council supported Harrison’s letter, with Cannon and Mayor Nancy Cooper opposed.