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Politicians Wrestle With What To Do With Liquor At New Arena In Quesnel

The North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee is exploring the idea of licensing the new arena for liquor consumption, for some events.

The politicians have asked staff to come back with a report on the pros and cons of getting a liquor primary license where the City, which has the contract, would license the facility for designated areas throughout the arena or to keep the process that is in place now, which is for groups to apply for their own special permit licenses.

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says those groups use those licenses for fundraising but it is an onerous process and it is restricted to the Dunkley room or multi-purpose room.

Simpson says there are pros and cons for both…

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“So there is a balance between how do you allow some of the individual organizations that use the arena to get access to a special permit license to get a little bit of money, and to enhance whatever the experience is with the event that they are hosting, versus just making it really easy for us to manage and control liquor access throughout the building.”

Simpson says they still have a lot of unanswered questions before making any decisions…

‘Do we take some of the money that we would make off of a regular liquor license, and flow it back to those groups and unburden them from applying for the special permit licenses ? Does it give us more ability to use the arena for different purposes ? And then of course, how do you want to restrict the locations where you have people sitting if they have access to liquor ?

He says either way some events, for things like minor hockey and ringette, would not be licensed.

For now, Simpson says groups can still get a special permit license and they have given staff the flexibility to designate other areas where liquor would be allowed.

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