MLA concerned about impacts of liquor licence changes on Vancouver movie theatres


NDP arts and culture critic Spencer Chandra Herbert is raising concerns about revised liquor licence regulations that he says create additional problems for some movie theatre operators.

Herbert said that while a recent change made by the B.C. government means that venues like the Rio Theatre can show films outside of their primary liquor licence hours, the directive has created new complications.

According to Herbert, the changes made by the province now prohibit theatres from obtaining a special events liquor licence for any event when the primary purpose is the screening of films or broadcasts, such as a film festival.

The Vancouver-West End MLA noted that until now, it has been common practice for independent theatres such as Denman Cinemas and Van City Theatre to rent their space out to groups that apply for temporary licences to serve liquor at special events, such as film festivals and screenings.

“They get a special event permit, they serve a little wine before the film, and that’s how they do it,” Herbert told the Straight by phone. “But with the government’s decision, they’ve now banned that, effectively.”

Herbert said he has written to Minister Rich Coleman, who recently gained responsibility for liquor policies, expressing his concerns about the impacts of the policy directive.

“They’ve been doing this for years, probably decades, without problems—no complaints,” he claimed. “And so, for the government to take this step, a rather arbitrary step, without any evidence, boggles the mind. Rather than moving forward, the government’s actually been going in the reverse.”

Herbert said he’s hoping to get the directive changed. He also plans to continue advocating for broader changes to B.C. liquor laws. The MLA tabled a petition with over 2,000 signatures last year calling for the laws to be updated, particularly the restrictions affecting movie theatres.

Comments (7) Add New Comment
Stephen Harper, Rob Nicholson, John Baird and Vic Toews, along with the rest of the Conservatives are liars, cheats and thieves. They are fascists and would turn our country into an Orwellian nightmare! Canada needs to rise up and occupy the parliament, remove the Conservatives from power, followed by some good old fashion tarring and feathering, finish with banishing from Canada! Finally Canadians need some laws that allow us to force referendums on the government and punish corrupt politicians who think they can screw with their people, their employers, you and me!

People shouldn't fear the government, the government should fear the people!
Rating: -3
Jesse K
How does Herbert substantiate the claim that "the changes made by the province now prohibit theatres from obtaining a special events liquor licence for any event"? Is any of this explicit in the changes made?
Rating: +4
Gentleman Jack
The Law in this region has been going downhill since they started fucking with the English Law as received Nov. 19 1858. In fact, one of the first statutes passed in British Columbia, iirc, had to do with statutory liquor policy---Government Hacks love controlling things people enjoy, especially if they can make a case that people "enjoy them too much."
Rating: -1
You're kidding, right
Jesus Christ, what a load of crap over nothing. Please, Spence, luv ya, but if the Rio's liquor license is the only thing that resonates with the youth vote in this town we are effed.
Rating: -4
When the NDP get back in power after the next election, it will be interesting to see whether Spencer Herbert continues to see this as a priority ... or if it will just get shelved and never heard of again.
Rating: +1
amy semple
things have changed my business could formerly get special occasion permits and this has been changed so that I can no longer get them. It is a shameless money grab by the government.

Rating: +3
The worse thing is that now Corinne Lea from the Rio is calling the city and licensing dept to complain about other smaller theatres that are serving liquor at their theatre even if they have a special events permit. Real classy move girl now that you've gotten what you've wanted, screw everyone else. I know there's been a small festival that had to move school auditorium thanks to her and the Denman Theatre doesn't want to risk anything. I wish the Straight would report on this behaviour. Completely shameless on her part.
Rating: -3
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