White Rock council unanimously approved a recommendation Monday that the 3 Dogs Brewing craft brewery receive its requested liquor licence amendments.
The city will now send the recommendation on to the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch for final consideration.
The brewery – opened in 2017 and relocated in early fall to 1515 Johnston Rd. after being displaced from Royal Plaza development plans – is seeking an amended liquor license for both a lounge, which could feature live entertainment, and an outside patio.
The move followed an extensive public hearing at which council heard from many supporters of 3 Dogs Brewing, who said they valued the business as a community builder and a quiet neighbourhood establishment to have a drink and socialize.
But they also heard from some nearby residents who were principally opposed to a provision of the amendment permitting a potential 2 a.m. closing on weekends for ticketed private parties and special events.
Some said they feared the noise disturbance and disruption this might cause, and wondered why such late openings needed to be included in the overall license, while 3 Dogs Brewing’s co-owner Scott Keddy told council that such special events had occurred only three times in the past 14 months of operation.
Some were particularly angered that the potential 2 a.m. closing was not mentioned in notices staff sent out to nearby residents and businesses and advertised in Peace Arch News.
Resident Charlene Ramage said “it was a red flag when I was told that you did not include all the information in two letters to me.”
“I feel like someone’s deceiving me, and I think in the future you need to do your job. Whoever was supposed to do that didn’t do their job and I’m very concerned and I don’t trust you guys anymore. I don’t trust the city because of this. I won’t trust your news bulletins anymore, because it really didn’t disclose a huge part,” the Johnston Road resident said.
Ramage said she felt many more would have attended the hearing and special council meeting, which began at 5 p.m., if they had known about the potential for late closings.
“You guys don’t live there – I live there,” she said. “I’m really not happy with the way this was handled. I really feel like you deceived us.”
Mayor Darryl Walker was swift to respond.
“On behalf of the city and as the mayor of the city, I offer you an apology and I assure you we will work to rectify it so that this does not happen again,” Walker said.
During the 1½-hour hearing, Keddy sought to assuage fears by saying that entertainment would be occasional and not more than musical duos or trios and that music would not be streamed onto the patio.
“We’re not a rock ’n’ roll nightclub,” he said.
Keddy emphasized that 2 a.m. closings would be the exception rather than the rule. He said that including the provision was at the suggestion of the LCRB itself, and that applying for special-event licences was a costly and time-consuming process.
While city staff noted the business would be subject to penalties from the LCRB or city bylaws staff for any infractions, Keddy pointed to 3 Dogs Brewing’s clean record to date.