Licence application bottled up

The economy has been tough on business throughout the South Okanagan — and for one small business operator in Kaleden, things aren’t being made any easier by the province.

  • Feb. 17, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Steve Arstad

Black Press

The economy has been tough on business throughout the South Okanagan — and for one small business operator in Kaleden, things aren’t being made any easier by the province.

Khushkismet Grewal and his wife Sukhuinder bought the Lakeview General Store in Kaleden (formerly the Kaleden General Store) in October 2010, much to the relief of the 1,300 residents of the small community.

The store had previously gone into foreclosure, losing its licence to sell alcohol as a result.

The Grewals were assured at the time of purchase by the seller that they would acquire their licence “within a week or two.”

A petition, initiated by the seller, that gathered more than 400 signatures from the small community in favour of having the general store’s licence to sell alcohol reinstated, had been sent to the province, and local MLA John Slater had been made aware of the need for a licence in order for the business to continue successfully.

Close to four months later, the Grewals are finding themselves increasingly frustrated by a lack of commitment on the part of the province to reinstate the licence.

“Every day it’s a new story,” Khushkismet said of his frequent communications with Slater. “He’s on holidays, or some other excuse. It seems like every customer I have is asking me when I am going to get the licence. I have older customers — and there are many in Kaleden — who don’t want to drive or are not able to, who would like to be able to get wine, liquor or beer here. This is a service the village can really use.”

Slater said he has been working with the owners and hoped to have the matter resolved before Christmas.

“This is a brutal one. In 2004, changes to the liquor act stipulated no new licences within 10 kilometres of existing ones … the thing about Kaleden is, here is a community of 1,300 people that have to drive to Okanagan Falls or Penticton for alcohol. It’s ludicrous.”

Slater said his office had made the pitch to reissue Kaleden’s licence, but agency staff tend to interpret to the letter of the law.

“It won’t take a big amendment to the law, perhaps a grandfather clause can work. We’re not giving up.”

Grewal noted that his store is completely equipped to sell alcohol — all his coolers and shelves are in place, waiting for the opportunity to be stocked. Until that happens, a portion of his store sits underutilized, costing him customers — and cash.

He noted that he continues to have customers come in offering to sign the petition or call the local MLA on his behalf. Grewal himself continues to be in constant contact with Slater, as well as Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for liquor licensing.

“Every village in the Okanagan and Similkameen has a licensed outlet,” Grewal observed. “Okanagan Falls has three outlets alone (two agency outlets and a liquor outlet attached to the Okanagan Falls Hotel). Why shouldn’t Kaleden?”

He pointed out that with the new, stricter drinking driving laws in effect, it doesn’t make sense for the province to force Kaledenites to drive to a liquor store when there was already a historical precedent for a licensed outlet in the village.

Just Posted

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Sandra Krauer, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Barb Hoolaeff were in Skaha Park to announce the return of Ribfest for September, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Ribfest returns to Penticton

Festival runs from Sept. 17 - 19 at Skaha Lake Park with proceeds going to new splash park

Fiery crash on the Okanagan Connector between two semis. (Facebook)
One dead after fiery Okanagan Connector crash between two semis

DriveBC estimates road won’t be open until 5 p.m.

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Turn out is high in advance voting for the Penticton by election taking place Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Screen shot)
Over 2,500 already voted in Penticton by-election

General voting day is Saturday, June 19

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

Festivals Kelowna president Richard Groves and executive director Renata Mills wrap themselves in the flag during the announcement of preparations for the 2018 Canada Day festival. (Alistair Waters/Capital News)
Festivals Kelowna cancels Canada Day celebrations for second year in a row

The group cited logistic issues in their announcement

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Central Okanagan Public Schools is assisting with the distribution of a donation of $500 to every Grade 12 graduating student in the school district. (File photo)
Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads get $500 surprise

Anonymous donor gifts $500 to every Grade 12 student

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Lady Dia, pictured with her son Glory, is a Kelowna artist. She recently received $10,000 in funding for her podcast MoM:ents. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Lady Dia selected as City of Kelowna’s artist in residence

Dia will release a project designed to discuss and shape the future of a more inclusive Kelowna

Most Read