Several said point blank at the rezoning hearing in Chilliwack that the neighbourhood did not need another liquor store. (Chilliwack Progress file)

Residents tell owner they want larger pub than the one proposed

Several said point blank at the hearing that the neighbourhood did not need another liquor store

Most Rosedale residents who showed up at the rezoning hearing for the former Roadhouse Pub property last week were strongly against the large liquor store proposal with a small pub tacked on.

After a chorus of voices said they would much prefer a larger pub in which to socialize and did not need a liquor store, council nonetheless voted to approve the rezoning that would transform the site into a liquor store and 78-square-metre pub.

The applicant and owner of the property at Yale Road near McGrath was back again before council on June 19, with a revised plan. The concession to residents was the plan to retain a portion of the property as a pub, and rezone it from C5 to C7 to facilitate a liquor store zoning.

“By changing our plans council had asked us to examine what it is we have purchased,” said property owner Colleen Winnick, adding they were advised to check out the state of the septic system, which they did.

The septic system needs an upgrade estimated to cost between $80,000 and $100,000, she said, since it’s 50 per cent below capacity according to Fraser Health. That is what convinced them to try a smaller pub model, with a smaller footprint, by negotiating to rent out the pub portion of the business in a leasing arrangement.

“We worked very hard to make a plan that works,” Winnick said. “I don’t know what kind of pub they will do but we want it to be successful.”

It did not sit well.

Neighbours offered feedback on the tiny pub idea, there were several speakers who said point blank that the neighbourhood did not need another liquor store, it needed a pub.

Some didn’t trust the second plan, with one speaker calling it a “thinly veiled disguise to have a liquor store only.”

One speaker at the June 19 hearing called the tiny pub proposal “the same pig in a different dress!”

Another speaker suggested those septic renovations are the “cost of doing business” for the owner.

Those who commented on the size, or the ratio of pub to liquor store space, said they preferred a larger pub, that could be used as a community meeting place.

One suggested a 30-seat pub couldn’t be cost effective for the operator, and what they needed is a place for the community to hold meetings or a karaoke night.

The owner said she did speak to some area residents about the new plans, after council recommended she do so the last time she was at city hall.

“Whatever neighbours (the owner) was talking to, it wasn’t any one of us,” the speaker said.

Another Rosedale resident said people should keep an open mind, as he was, as someone who lives next door.

“The fact is when saw the proposal with a liquor store and pub, and looked at the design, with heritage house next to it, I liked what I saw. Maybe this entity will change the look.”

Some speakers wanted to talk about the other liquor stores in the area, but Mayor Sharon Gaetz reminded those in chambers that it wasn’t something that council could take into consideration in that rezoning.

Coun. Chris Kloot said the matter remains a “challenging” issue for him, and he sees Rosedale as a passionate community, and he applauded the applicant for working hard to come up with a viable option in the community.

“I think I’ve heard loud and clear from the community, that size of the proposed pub is the issue,” he said. “I would have preferred to see something more in the 50/50 range myself.”

Kloot said he couldn’t support it as presented because the pub was too small to be a community gathering spot.

Coun. Sam Waddington said while he agreed the applicant was doing something that made sense from a business perspective, the reality is the owners had purchased the property zoned for a specific use, a pub, and that is what the community came out to say it wants.

“I won’t support the application as it sits,” said Waddington.


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