Liquor store proposed for Kensington mall

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan -
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan
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The province wants to open a new liquor store at Kensington Square Shopping Centre, in line with Burnaby city hall's guidelines on where such stores should be located.

But Mayor Derek Corrigan had to convince his fellow council members this is a good thing.

The proposal is for a 4,600-square-foot, neighbourhood-scale, BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) store at the mall, where there had been such a liquor store from 1974 to 2006. The city's guidelines, adopted in 2006, recommends such a store be located at the mall as an interim step until population densities increase in the area to warrant a larger, signature liquor store.

The store would require a rezoning of the mall property, with a public hearing scheduled for Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in city hall council chambers.

At Monday's council meeting, Coun. Colleen Jordan suggested city staff contact the LDB to see how the potential changes to liquor sales could affect the government's plans to open signature stores, something Burnaby wants to see one of in each quadrant of the city.

"Are you suggesting we should look a gift horse in the mouth?" replied Corrigan.

Jordan said she simply doesn't want to go through a rezoning process only to see the store "get yanked" by the province.

Corrigan said he's been "very pleased" to see a public liquor store open recently at Market Crossing in South Burnaby's Big Bend area, another facility which followed the city's guidelines, as would the proposed signature store in the SOLO District development in the Brentwood area.

As a former Vancouver city councillor, new Attorney-General Suzanne Anton is "from local government, I think she has a good deal of respect for the operations of cities," Corrigan said. "I'm going to take it as a positive."

Coun. Nick Volkow said he prefers the model of separate, stand-alone liquor stores than mini-liquor stores within supermarkets as has been suggested through the province's review of its liquor laws.

Partnering with supermarkets "may be simply an economic issue" as a way for the government to open liquor stores more cheaply, said Corrigan.

The government has been following Burnaby's rules on where such stores should be located. "As long as they're following the rules, I'm looking at this as a cooperative approach," he said.

"I don't want to get too paranoid about this."

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