Area resident Peter Ingram was one of several speakers who opposed the liquor primary application by Townhall Chilliwack on Nov. 19, 2019. (City of Chilliwack)

Area resident Peter Ingram was one of several speakers who opposed the liquor primary application by Townhall Chilliwack on Nov. 19, 2019. (City of Chilliwack)

Townhall Chilliwack failed in bid for liquor primary licence

Neighbours show up to public hearing to oppose liquor primary application

Townhall Chilliwack is going to remain a restaurant with a food primary licence.

A liquor primary licence application did not succeed, after Council turned down the proposal for a text amendment to the CD-7 zone after several neighbours spoke in opposition on Nov. 19.

Edna Lizotte, the liquor licensing consultant representing Townhall, was the first one up to the microphone.

“The reason that we’re here for a liquor primary licence is we wanted to add dancing at this location,” Lizotte told council.

What happened to trigger the application was that a liquor licence inspector walked into Townhall Chilliwack at one point and found a couple“just kind of moving to some music,” the consultant said.

“We’re only going this route because we’ve had no other alternative,” Lizotte said, referencing local bylaws prohibiting dancing for food primary businesses without a public participation endorsement.

The application also requested later closing hours for Friday and Saturday nights, to bring them in line with other liquor primary establishments.

They pledged to sign a good neighbour agreement, and despite music and dancing, games and a pool table, they said they would not permit the pub to become “detrimental” to the neighbhourhood, nor would it be a nightclub or provide adult entertainment. They said they were willing to cut back the closing hours as well.

“It’s a very nice little location and they just want to work with the community,” Lizotte said, adding there would be no entertainment on the patio.

But council received six emailed letters of opposition, and two letters of concern, by the time the agenda was prepared for the Nov. 19 meeting, and then several more after the agenda had been set.

Area resident Peter Ingram told council he’s woken up by the loud music, and drunken rowdiness that spills out out of Townhall. He wondered why the music was allowed to blare from the outside speakers for “hours and hours” when there’s no one even out on the patio.

“As a taxpayer living across the street from the Townhall, I have called there numerous occasions in the afternoon, I can count three or four times, to turn down their music, and that’s hearing it over Vedder Road,” said Ingram.

He talked about the excessive noise, as well as the spillover drama, fighting, trash, as well as drug/alcohol use that stem from patrons, but also noise from servers after close, all of which has impacted quality of life for his family.

“So personally there is no way I want a liquor primary licence granted to Townhall, turning it into a pub, with later closing hours.”

Ronda Sexsmith said she’s lived right across the street for more than 30 years, and since they built the restaurant she hears laughing and noise from Townhall.

“I can hear it all at night,” she said. “I’m really opposed to it being a liquor primary. It’s been good with people been taking their kids over there and it’s been a family environment.”

Neighbour Wanda Lee said the disruption and noise are concerns, as well as additional potential for more impaired driving, road rage incidents, trespassing, and feeling unsafe in the neighbourhood.

Bert Hick, owner of Rising Tide Consultants, said they’ve been working with Townhall owners, the Joseph Richard Group, for about 11 years, on various liquor licensing efforts, and JRG has a good reputation in several municipalities.

“They are clearly in the food and beverage business, and do not own or operate nightclubs,” Hick said addressing that concern mentioned by several speakers, adding that nightclubs “don’t make money; they’re dying” and “going the way of the dodo bird.”

They would prefer that it could stay a food primary, but with a patron participation endorsement added, but cannot under the current bylaws of Chilliwack, was how Hick described their central challenge.

But that was a point later questioned by Coun. Jason Lum, who couldn’t find the local bylaws Hick was referring to in his comments.

Coun. Harv Westeringh said after the hearing that he was having a hard time supporting the licence change and voted against.

“At first I was in support,” Westeringh said, explaining that it was close to Vedder and they were going to sign a Good Neighbour Agreement. “But after hearing the community come out in full opposition to it, I’m having difficulty supporting it now, so I will not be supporting it.”

Coun. Chris Kloot said he felt the neighbourhood needed to be listened to.

“I think we’ve heard loud and clear from the neighbours that they will be directly impacted by this.”

Coun. Sue Knott said she agreed, and was not comfortable with voting for a liquor primary.

“With a food primary these days you can do almost anything, although you can’t allow dancing,” Knott said.

“They have a good thing going and I would hope after hearing the comments, they will voluntarily remove the speakers from the patio.”

Coun. Jeff Shields said that it didn’t matter how much security they had or if they signed a good neighbour agreement, they were going to have issues. He did not vote in favour.

Coun. Bud Mercer voted against as well.

Coun. Lum said his concerns were consistent with his fellow councillors, and figures the whole situation was triggered by an “unfortunate misreading” of Chilliwack bylaw since he could not find any evidence that they would have been denied a entertainment and audience participation endorsement from the province.

“There is no way jurisdictionally that it could have overruled provincial legislation,” Lum said.

That being said he said the neighbourhood had found a “scapegoat” in Townhall, blaming them for needles, and people cutting through yards.

“It’s difficult to find a compelling argument in support, but there were enough against to say they shouldn’t go ahead.”

In the end, Council voted unanimously against the text amendments for a liquor primary licence for Townhall Chilliwack.

READ MORE: Chances gets liquor primary licence

READ MORE: Kids decorate liquor store bags


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Bert Hick of Rising Tide Consultants, specializing in liquor licensing, addresses city council on Nov. 19, 2019. (City of Chilliwack)

Bert Hick of Rising Tide Consultants, specializing in liquor licensing, addresses city council on Nov. 19, 2019. (City of Chilliwack)

Just Posted

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road. (RCMP photo)
RCMP asking for help to find missing Chilliwack woman

Mackenzie Ashley-Lynn Gilfillan was last seen Jan. 10 in the 45000-block of Menholm Road

Chilliwack Chiefs
Chilliwack Chiefs acquire forward Ben Woodhouse from Wellington Dukes

The BCHL club swapped future considerations to the Dukes for the 20-year-old forward

Chilliwack is still one of B.C.’s COVID hot-spots, according to the latest weekly numbers from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Chilliwack records 140 COVID cases over seven-day period

Chilliwack’s case count per 100,000 people is among the highest in the province

An Abbotsford man was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 on Monday, Jan. 18. (Black Press file photo)
Abbotsford man killed in Highway 3 crash near Hedley

Fatality was discovered by passing tow truck driver

Light boxes installed recently near Five Corners, seen here on Jan. 18, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Mystery of the large light boxes in downtown Chilliwack revealed

Some suggested ‘warming stations’ for the homeless; others guessed ‘public art’ installations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read