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Metchosin council hands off nano-brewery recommendation to liquor board

District’s input on hours, capacity and other elements to inform liquor board decision
Mile Zero Brewing’s hope to open a nano-brewery in the old Metchosin school building moved a step closer to reality this week, with council recommending approval, with specific criteria. (Black Press Media file photo)

After a tumultuous review process, Metchosin council voted to recommend approval of a nano-brewery proposed for a portion of the old schoolhouse building.

The recommendation now goes to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, which along with determining whether to approve the application by Mile Zero Brewing, will use the district input to decide on opening hours, capacity and the range of services the operation can offer.

Council recommended a reduction in opening times from the original application – going with hours suggested by Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila at the Feb. 28 meeting. Those were from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 2 to 9 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday and 1 to 8 p.m. on statutory holidays.

Also recommended were capacity limits of 30 in the outdoor picnic area and 37 in the interior lounge, unless the fire chief recommended a lower limit.

The decision was not without opposition.

Coun. Marie-Therese Little voted against the recommendation, citing resident concerns.

Resident Michael Star said nobody from the brewery had reached out to him. Steve Gray said he was in favour of the brewery’s reduced hours, but was against the lounge due to concerns about it expanding after council approves it.

Mayor John Ranns supported council’s recommendations, noting there isn’t room for the lounge to expand with the size of the classroom the brewery is going into in the old Metchosin school building. The Metchosin Arts and Culture Centre, which leases a separate portion of the building, wrote in favour of the recommendations.

Council now awaits the liquor board’s decision and will decide on whether or not to approve a bylaw based on the board’s ruling.

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