Liquor liscensing will become streamlined in the new year

The liquor license process is going to be streamlined coming next year, says the provincial government.

Sarah Kloos

Special to the Valley Echo

Currently, when a business applies for a liquor license, manufacturer lounge or special event area, the application is reviewed by the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB). The application is then referred to the local government or First Nations whose role is to gather public input and provide a recommendation to LCLB. In some cases, this process can take up to a year because the provincial and local government or First Nations reviews happen consecutively.

The province wants to “cut the red tape” (get rid of formal rules that may be redundant), so the LCLB will allow these processes to happen concurrently, starting January 23rd, 2017. According to one local pub owner this change could save time by allowing businesses to open faster.

Justin Atterbury, co-owner of the Station Pub told the Echo that “it really isn’t too hard to get a liquor license because not too many people get rejected, but this new application might make things faster for small businesses which will really help.”

“We are continuing to make real progress modernizing B.C. liquor laws through our strong partnership and ongoing dialogue between with the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and First Nations. These changes will help cut red tape and create efficiencies for small businesses, and build on our previous actions to make sure small businesses can thrive, create jobs, and grow the economy,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.

The changes mean local governments will soon have the option to allow staff to evaluate and make recommendations on new liquor licenses and make changes to existing licenses. The update will remove the requirement for local governments to provide a council resolution to the LCLB. The Province has also reduced the criteria on which local governments and First Nations must comment in instances when they provide a council resolution to the LCLB regarding a liquor primary license, manufacturer lounge or special event area application.