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  • John G

St. Charles Hotel vs Residents

It started in December of 2015 with a yellow poster from then MLCC on the boarded up windows of the long abandoned St. Charles Hotel. They were applying for a dining room licence and a beer vendor licence. Wait a minute: the building has been abandoned for years -- how can they apply for a liquor licence?!

I sent in an objection to the beer vendor licence application on behalf of R:ED. CentreVenture also objected. In a July 2016 R:ED newsletter, I asked for residents to email their thoughts on having another beer vendor in the area. The negative responses were definitive in their opposition with many giving personal negative experiences with the current vendors and some with the St. Charles when it was open years ago. The 50 responses were an integral component of my submission of opposition sent to the MLCC. The MLCC Executive Director allowed the owner of the St. Charles to proceed with a dining room licence, but the beer vendor licence was declined. The reason it was turned down: opposition by the residents. Yay - a win! The owner appealed. After many delays by the owner in June 2018 the board set a date and said it would not be changed or delayed. I again agreed to appear in person before the board to present our "case." Does it sound like a trial? It felt like it, and by the way, the hotel owner is a lawyer. There was over an hour of presentations by Angela Mathieson, CEO of CentreVenture, and by me, representing R:ED. Then some 'cross-examination' by the owner and then final statements by all sides. The board left the room to deliberate and returned about 20 minutes later with a unanimous decision: the appeal was declined - the original decision to not allow the beer vendor licence held! Two lessons learned. First, the process is onerous, legal-heavy and slow. The second lesson was valuable: When a new licence is under consideration, the interests of local residents are taken into account and are a significant factor.


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