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Posted: November 25, 2014

Red tape cuts will help ski hills, golf courses

The B.C. Government is cutting red tape around licensing, making it easier and more cost-effective for golf courses and ski hills to expand their liquor licence areas, as a new batch of Liquor Policy Review updates are being rolled out.

Made in direct response to feedback heard during the Liquor Policy Review, ski hills and golf courses can apply, starting on Dec. 9, for a single licence endorsement that covers up to 26 events in a calendar year, rather than having to apply and pay separately for each extension.

Businesses were previously burdened making one-off, temporary changes – at a cost of $330 each time, with a maximum of six per year – whenever they wanted to expand their licensed area for an event, such as a putting green area during a golf tournament, or adding an area at a terrain park during a ski or snowboard festival. The updated licence endorsement will encourage ski hills and golf courses to offer more events, weddings, and other tourism opportunities throughout B.C.

Another change in the works: liquor-primary establishments will soon be able to offer more all-ages events, such as concerts and dances, effective Dec. 9. The licence amendment fees will be eliminated and the approval process will be streamlined for applicants – cutting additional red tape for small businesses.

For both of these changes, to help ensure public safety is maintained – all events will continue to be flagged, using a simple online notification application, for the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, which may levy penalties for non-compliance.

To support convenience and transparency for applicants, and help as they undertake licence approval processes, government has also canvassed municipalities and First Nations, encouraging them to post the anticipated wait times for liquor-related application input on their websites.

“This change, along with a number of the recommendations in the Liquor Policy Review, will drive significant benefits for the B.C. ski and tourism industries. We sincerely appreciate the work being done, and appreciate the opportunities we have had to be included throughout the consultation process. I would expect a number of B.C.’s world-class ski resorts will be pursuing local government approval so they will be ready to apply as soon as the new process is open on Dec. 9,” said David Lynn, president and CEO, Canada West Ski Areas Association.

“It’s great to see the government really working hard to cut red tape for small business and tourism operations in the province. Golf courses throughout B.C. extend their licensed areas quite often for our customers, to host weddings and for large gatherings. This change will be a great relief for many. The time, money and effort that currently go into the application process can now be used more effectively, and we think it is a great move,” noted Kris Jonasson, executive director of the BC Golf Association.

“Today, we are acting on government’s promise to cut red tape – in support of tourism and small business – with the goal to make liquor licensing in this province as efficient and seamless as possible. We are also opening up new options for liquor-primaries – creating new, safe, alcohol-free venues for all ages,” stated Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

“Our government is making no-nonsense changes, updating liquor policies that come straight from the feedback I received from ski hills, golf courses, the hospitality industry and British Columbians during the Liquor Policy Review. We are removing some of the make-work tasks, and archaic rules that are currently holding back our business sector from reaching its full potential,” said John Yap, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Policy Reform.

“This will make a tangible difference to the tourism industry in B.C., by alleviating the time-consuming and costly licensing process that ski hills and golf courses previously underwent when pursuing fun, safe, special events for their visitors and guests. This is a great example of the province working to promote the tourism industry and helping B.C. enhance visitor experiences,” added Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business.

Mark Pickersgill, director with the Safe Amplification Site Society said, “The Safe Amplification Site Society is all about providing and encouraging live music events for people of all ages in a safe, responsible, legal, inclusive, sustainable and enjoyable way. By allowing otherwise licensed venues to offer liquor-free environments – staffed by knowledgeable people who have the appropriate training – for all ages events, this change represents a move to better acknowledge alternative ways for kids (and people of all ages) to have fun and express creativity, in a safe environment. The Safe Amplification Site Society applauds the change.”

Aligning with B.C.’s promise to provide stakeholders with early notice so they can get ready for changes, applications will be available beginning on Dec. 9, and will require local government approval.

This update confirms the implementation of these three recommendations from the Liquor Policy Review:

– Provide a more streamlined and time-sensitive application process to allow facilities such as ski hills and golf courses to temporarily extend their licensed area to another part of the property (e.g., a patio near a ski-hill gondola lift or a temporary patio near a golf clubhouse) (#62).

– Allow liquor-primary establishments to offer more liquor-free events for all-ages (e.g., music concerts) (#66).

– In the interest of customer service, First Nations, local and provincial governments should identify target timelines to resolve all applications related to liquor licensing (#42).

* Government has also implemented the following recommendation:

– Allowing UBrew/UVin members to change their name to Ferment-On-Premise (FOP) to be consistent with federal legislation. Establishments can continue to call themselves UBrews/UVins if they choose. (#69).

* As of Dec. 9, government will have implemented 21 recommendations from the Liquor Policy Review.

* Government has adopted a phased-in approach to modernizing B.C.’s liquor laws. A complete re-write of the Liquor Control and Licensing Act is planned for spring 2015.


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