Burnaby campus addresses alcohol demands


WEB-Grocery Beer-Mark Burnham

In light of BC’s new recommendations on liquor laws, as well as the SFSS’s upcoming spring concert, the question of alcohol availability on campus has once again been raised.

As demonstrated by the online buzz surrounding Rashed Aqrabawi’s September article “Nice Kickoff Concert, but where was the booze?”, alcohol on campus is a hot topic. And due to the government’s recent announcement of its intentions to overhaul the province’s liquor laws, including the sale of alcohol in grocery stores, students may eventually see changes on the Burnaby campus.

According to John Flipse, SFSS food and beverage services manager, the ability to purchase alcohol at Nesters or a liquor store on the mountain might potentially change things for the better. “Currently there is a beer and wine store at the Mountain Shadow which might probably notice a decline in business [. . .] [Liquor sales could] draw more people to Cornerstone and assist other businesses [. . .] on the hill,” Flipse said. He conceded, however, that “nothing will happen quickly.”

Eric Olson, manager of Nesters Market, says the most requested service by the Burnaby Mountain community is alcohol sales. Many Nesters customers leave the mountain searching for alcohol near where they purchase their groceries; therefore, the sale of alcohol in Nesters may not only serve the emerging community, but also the grocery store’s best interests.

Nevertheless, Olson said that there is still “too much uncertainty to provide concrete information on the recommendation,” and that he is unsure about the sale of alcohol at the grocery store. However, a liquor store is included in the plan for the new lot being developed by Cornerstone — who gets the rights to that store remains to be seen.

“We’re doing our best to make it happen.”

– Gordon Harris, president and CEO, SFU Community Trust

The Burnaby Mountain Business Association had been discussing alcohol sales on the mountain, especially since there is now a larger community as a result of UniverCity expansion.

One of the possibilities that SFU Community Trust (the commmittee responsible for community planing on the hill) is considering is that of a private liquor store which would attempt to meet the demands of communities on the mountain, including those residing in UniverCity.

Community Trust president and CEO, Gordon Harris, said, “With the minister’s announcement of them accepting all 73 recommendations [. . .] we’re very encouraged that it might mean that we’ll be able to continue [government liquor sales] discussions with the province sooner rather than later.”

“We’re committed to ensuring the provision of a liquor store for the residents of the university, and the mountain residents have identified different priorities from child care centers, elementary schools, pharmacy, grocery stores, and now a liquor store,” Harris continued. “We’re doing our best to make it happen. The problem is that the provincial government believes we’re still a small market.”

Olson hopes students have faith in the upcoming plans saying, “The development phase will change a lot of things at SFU, and we want students to know that Nesters is a part of this community and its future.”

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