Village Hotel: Pondering a lawsuit over liquor-store decision
The owners of the Village Hotel are prepared to sue the provincial government if it won’t approve moving the site’s liquor store about 30 metres.
However, hotel manager John Haggarty first plans to talk with Kamloops-North Thompson Liberal MLA Terry Lake to see if he can do anything to convince the province’s liquor control and licensing board — which has already rejected the relocation request — to consider an appeal of the ruling.
There are many reasons why the hotel’s owners want to make the move, not the least of which is improving safety in the area.
The relocation has the support of Kamloops RCMP and the North Shore Business Improvement Association, whose general manager, Peter Mutrie, said the current site encourages “errant behaviour.”
Haggarty agreed, noting the site at the rear, next to an alleyway and close to nearby houses, has historically been a frequent destination for police calls.
The provincial board, however, said no to the move because regulations do not allow a relocation if the new site is within one kilometre of an existing liquor retailer.
In this case, there’s another liquor store little more than one-half kilometre away.
Lake said he would meet with Haggarty to discuss the issue, noting he’s not aware of the situation.
However, Lake is aware of the safety and police concerns about the store location from his time as mayor, he said, and speculated any meeting might benefit from the presence of current Mayor Peter Milobar.
Mutrie would also like to see the board decision overturned, noting the store was built before the regulation being applied to it had been created and should be grandfathered.
Under provincial legislation, only the general manager of the liquor board has the discretion to overrule a decision, even if it is based on existing regulation limits, if an applicant requests this.
Safety is an overriding concern, Haggarty said, and, despite improvements that have reduced police calls to the hotel, he noted the store continues to be one area that can result in the RCMP arriving.
However, despite media reports noting the hotel and one other nightclub in the city are the two worst for police calls, Haggarty noted often it is store staff calling police for help if intoxicated people show up and want to make a purchase.
“The won’t listen, they kick up a ruckus, it gets out of control sometimes and staff at the store have to call the police,” he said.
Haggarty took further issue with the police-calls statistics identifying the location as a problem spot, noting the Village has long-term tenants and, if there is a call to the hotel for anything, it is included in the statistics.
“Many of them are disadvantaged or people on disability with not many resources and not enough money,” Haggarty said.
“Once their rents are paid, what’s left for many of them is eating at the food bank.”