Richmond MLA John Yap questions booze sales in grocery stores

The B.C. government's consultation on liquor reform has begun with a debate about allowing alcoholic beverage sales in grocery stores.

Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap is parliamentary secretary for liquor reform

The B.C. government’s consultation on liquor reform has begun with a debate about allowing alcoholic beverage sales in grocery stores.

“Washington state is the model I favour,” a Lower Mainland resident wrote Monday on the B.C. government’s new consultation website. “No government involvement in retailing – period. Just enforce the legal drinking age.”

The B.C. government’s point man on liquor reform, Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap, posted his own comments on the subject Monday. Yap warned that while opening up alcohol sales is a popular suggestion, “it certainly isn’t as straightforward as it may seem.”

Yap noted that beer, wine and spirits are already sold in rural grocery stores that are licensed because their service area isn’t big enough to warrant a government retail store. In urban areas, he questioned whether alcoholic beverages should be sold from convenience stores and gas stations, larger grocery stores, or big-box retailers.

“When this topic comes up in my meetings with health, safety and law-and-order advocates, the question will surely become that already we see 30 per cent of late-night attendees at a typical B.C. emergency department report alcohol consumption in the six hours prior to their injury or illness,” Yap said. “If we make it more available for the sake of convenience, will we see rates like this rise?”

The government is inviting public comments until Oct. 31 at the website. The site also lists submissions from health care, police and alcoholic beverage industry representatives.

The current review continues a remake of B.C. liquor policy that began in 2002, when cold beer and wine stores were allowed to sell spirits, and a 10-year moratorium on new private store licences was lifted.

When the consultation was launched in August, Yap said licenses for serving craft beer or local wine at farmers’ markets would be considered.

Pubs also want to allow under-aged children in with their parents for lunch, putting them on a level playing field with licensed restaurants.


Scenes like this one below are common in the United States, where beer, wine, and spirits are sold in many or most grocery or convenience stores. (Photo taken in New York City, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Beer sold in grocery store in United states

Just Posted

Egg-stravaganza in Memorial Park

Kids Easter event planned for Summerland

Reel Reviews: Fear or love

We say, “Once again, one worth seeing, one not.”

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Your March 19 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

Pedestrian airlifted to hospital after semi truck collision north of Cache Creek

RCMP say person sustained non-life threatening injuries

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Federal committee to examine human trafficking in Canada

The Commons committee plans on holding hearings in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

United Way invests more than $460,000 in South Okanagan

United Way celebrates contributors to 2017 community campaign

Most Read