Council endorsed two winery lounge requests this week, and directed city staff to start public consultation on a third.
Little Engine Wines, located at 851 Naramata Road drew little concern, with no members of the public coming forward either in support or opposition.
But the application for Time Winery, under construction in the former PenMar Theatre, drew concerns from local residents, with Walter Pohl submitting a letter with 16 signatures from neighbours.
Pohl said they were concerned about noise coming from the operation of the crush pad, other machinery and lounge parties. He also expressed concern about insects and vermin drawn to the area by the crush pad.
“We understand this is commercial property, but there is also residential property in the area,” said Pohl. “Crush pads are normally considered to be agricultural and should not be allowed in the city limits. Our quality of life should not be compromised or altered.”
Coun. Max Picton said the city is attempting to create a vibrant atmosphere, especially in the downtown core, and the Time Winery request fit that model.
“Where in our city would be an appropriate spot for a business like this. If not in the downtown core, where would we put these things?” Picton asked.
Time Winery was represented by Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond, who read a letter from her father, winery pioneer Harry McWatters, who is in California, judging an international wine competition.
“In my 49 years in the wine business, I have been involved with several wineries,” read McWatters-Bond from his letter. “We have always reacted very responsibly to the community needs and have never had a single complaint filed against us. We pride ourselves as being considered good neighbours.”
Both winery lounge applications received unanimous support from council, and will now go to the Liquor Control and Licensing Board.
Time Winery is still under construction, with an opening date expected in late June or July, but an established operation, Perseus Winery, off Lower Bench Road is also seeking the city’s endorsement to the LCLB.
This is their second attempt at creating a winery lounge, after a 2013 application for an indoor and outdoor lounge failed to get council’s endorsement or LCLB approval.
Perseus is within an agricultural area extending into the urban area of Lower Bench Road. Concerns from the neighbours about noise from the lounge, traffic and fumes from the parking lot, along with drinking in a residential neighbourhood played a part in council’s refusal to endorse.
Building and permitting manager Ken Kunka said the city has received similar concerns about the latest application during the preliminary consultation period.
Kunka also said that to the best of his knowledge, the city has received no noise complaints about Perseus over the last few years.
Council directed staff to begin a more intensive public consultation process, returning to council on May 23.