THE NASS Valley won’t be getting its own liquor store anytime soon.
The application from the New Aiyansh Gas Bar/Convenience Store for a Rural Agency Store (RAS), a smaller version of a liquor store that’s part of an already established store, was turned down by the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) after the community consultation phase of the application process, said liquor distribution branch communications manager Vince Cournoyer.
“The LDB does not publicly share the specifics of community consultations,” he said.
“In general though, if there is significant concern raised in a community during the stakeholder consultation about the granting of a RAS appointment, the LDB does not proceed beyond that consultation.”
He added that specifics are not given out because the community consultations are done to help the liquor board decide whether to allow local stores to sell alcohol on its behalf.
“It is essential that we receive candid input and each response is considered within the context of all other responses,” said Cournoyer.
“Keeping the process confidential is the best way to ensure participation and forthright responses in what are very small communities.”
New Aiyansh Gas Bar/ Convenience Store interim manager George Adams said he received a letter from the liquor board that said there was too much opposition to the store selling liquor.
Last year, a sign posted on the government liquor store here in Terrace from the Liquor Distribution Branch of the provincial government asked for input from the community on the branch’s request to “establish a rural agency store (RAS) at the New Aiyansh gas bar/convenience store.”
The RAS would sell liquor so people would have “better, more convenient access” to alcohol, the notice said.
These types of stores are set up in rural communities that are too small to operate a government liquor store and where a suitable business, such as an “independently-owned full service general grocery store” is already located, the notice said.
Only one of these stores is permitted in a community, it said. Written comments from the community were accepted until July 28, 2012.
The process that the liquor branch goes through in deciding on whether to set up an RAS has three steps: an initial assessment that involves a site visit, a public consultation and finally an application, said the LDB.
If the first two steps are successful, it generally takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete the final application process, said the LDB.
The first assessment and site visit took place and the community consultation was expected to be finished by Aug. 9, 2012.
If the store wants to reapply for the RAS, it can do so anytime, said Cournoyer. There’s no indication of when that might happen.