Liquor store would 'help mall survive'

Application for Parkcrest plaza supported by petition of 1,000 signatures

A private liquor store is one of the services the Parkcrest Shopping Centre needs in order to survive, the mall’s manager told city council.

Jak’s Liquor Store has applied for a rezoning of one of the mall’s stores to allow it to set up shop. Wayne Smithies, president of Martello Property Services, said the mall needs to offer a variety of stores to keep customers coming to the residential strip mall on Broadway. He pointed out the major tenant, Buy-Low Foods, isn’t allowed to sell liquor.

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“If we are able to provide full services in this centre we will survive,” Smithies said to council at a public hearing Tuesday evening.

Mike McKee, one of the partners in the family-owned Jak’s company, said he spent seven afternoons in front of the grocery store asking for support for the liquor store gathering 1,016 signatures on a petition.

“We were able to get overwhelming support,” said McKee, who added the other store operators in the mall support the Jak’s outlet because it will drive traffic to the mall.

Jak’s operates 11 stores, including one attached to the Great Bear Pub on Kingsway. Two local craft breweries offered their support for the store. Matt Martin, director of sales and marketing for Steamworks Brewery, which operates on William Street near Boundary Road, said Jak’s has been a big supporter of craft breweries for years. 

Chris Lougheed of Burnaby’s Dageraad Brewery said he’s been doing business with Jak’s ever since it opened.

“Burnaby is under serviced for this type of store. There are quite a few government liquor stores, but not a lot of smaller stores that support craft breweries like us,” said Lougheed.

When asked by Mayor Derek Corrigan if there was a difference between private and government liquor stores for craft breweries, Lougheed said the government stores have a lot of restrictions on what they can stock.

“In order to gain a listing you have to attain a certain level,” said Lougheed. “We don’t produce enough volume to get a listing.”

Although Dageraad is in some public stores in Burnaby, it’s the small private ones that are more knowledgable and the brewery does more volume with them than the government outlets.

“We’re constantly searching for new and interesting products, particularly local,” said McKee.

Fayaz Shivji, whose family has lived in the area for more than 30 years, however, is concerned the store will have a detrimental effect on residences surrounding the plaza. He said case studies show there are jumps in crime when beer and liquor stores open in residential areas and the prices of homes drop two to four per cent. 

“That alongside with how near the Holdom SkyTrain station is draws concern to residents like us,” said Shivji with his father Diamond beside him.

Mayor Derek Corrigan said there is a Buy-Low grocery store with a private liquor store in the same mall at Royal Oak and Rumble in South Burnaby near where he lives.

“We haven’t seen those kind of problems in my community, but I will ask staff to look at that and report back on it,” Corrigan told Shivji.

McKee doesn’t believe property values and crime rates will be a problem at Parkcrest.

“This is an issue we have heard in the past from residents in other areas where we have operated. The issue is nuanced, it can depend on the type of liquor store that is in place and the type of customer it is serving,” said McKee.

The clientele, he said, won’t be looking for inexpensive liquor but more like “what to pair with salmon tonight or what’s the latest stout that has come out.”

When the rezoning application first appeared before council on Feb. 26, Coun. Sav Dhaliwal voted against sending it to public hearing, citing a staff report stating there are already several liquor outlet options not too far away.

On March 5, council rejected an application to permit the relocation of Hop and Vine liquor store on Burnwood Drive to the Crest Shopping Centre on 10th Avenue after a petition signed by more than 50 residents was presented at a public hearing.

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