Perseus Winery is going ahead with their plans to add a lounge, just not right away.
“We have asked for a delay,” said CEO Rob Ingram. “There are still a small number of people that are unhappy. I am going to go in and offer to meet them directly, so we can resolve the last of the issues.”
Ingram said the winery has already made compromises to work with the neighbourhood that no other winery in the province has ever considered. They’ve already installed sound barriers in the form of plexiglass panels around the patio area, cedar hedging along the property line and across the road.
“We couldn’t go back and reapply for two years, but within two months, we had basically solved every issue they had brought up at the council meeting,” said Ingram, noting that in an effort to be a good neighbour, they made these changes even after they lost their first bid for a lounge licence endorsement in 2013.
Ingram said neighbours told the winery if the improvements were made, they would be happy.
“And then it turned out they weren’t,” said Ingram. “I think what we need to do is just sit with these neighbours and ask if there is anything we haven’t done.”
Trevor Tovell, who helped organize a protest against the lounge application last week, said he hasn’t been contacted by Perseus Winery yet, but welcomes the engagement.
“Open dialogue is always welcome but I just don’t think any of us would be willing to agree, under any terms, to a 44-person outdoor lounge,” said Tovell. He added he wasn’t speaking for his neighbours, but expected everyone would be willing to engage in discussions.
Ingram said delaying the process means that the lounge won’t happen this summer, in any case.
“It really wasn’t going to be a lot of extra business. It was strictly for the convenience of people,” said Ingram, explaining a lounge licence would allow visitors to enjoy a glass of wine while waiting for the remainder of their tour group to finish their tastings.
“This just allows them to sit on the deck and have a glass of wine. It’s really such a very small thing to have asked for,” said Ingram, who thinks the term lounge licence is a misnomer in this case.
“It really is the furthest thing from it. It’s not a pub, it’s not a gathering place where people will meet,” said Ingram. “It is really to let people have a glass of wine there. I guess we need to prove that to the neighbours.”