Plan to move liquor store from downtown Penticton meets opposition

Owner seeks approval to move Three Gables liquor store to site of Fairview Grocery

The owner of the Three Gables liquor store on Martin Street has applied to relocate the business out of the downtown area. The plan has created backers and critics alike.

The owner of the Three Gables liquor store on Martin Street has applied to relocate the business out of the downtown area. The plan has created backers and critics alike.

A plan to move Three Gables liquor store out of the city centre has generated concern among some competitors and received a mild endorsement from a downtown business group.

Mal Randhawa, a representative of Three Gables owner Harbans Randhawa, said the area has become over-saturated with liquor stores in recent years, and moving away from Martin Street will help “rebalance” the market.

He said Westminster, Clancy’s and Three Gables are all competing for the same local customers. A fourth store, Bubblees, was also in the mix until it burned down in February.

“Moving to Fairview (Road), I think it solves the problem of (market) saturation in the downtown,” Randhawa said.

Three Gables has applied to the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch to move the store to the corner of Fairview Road and Calgary Avenue, home of Fairview Grocery, which would be levelled to make way for a sleek, new residential-commercial development.

City council in March granted preliminary approval to the necessary bylaw amendments to make it happen, but final consent has been withheld until a road reserve is registered on the land title.

Randhawa said the best-case scenario would see the new store open in “a little over a year,” and the old Three Gables building demolished later.

First, however, he’ll have to convince the LCLB to allow the move, which would apparently violate a policy that prevents private liquor stores from opening within one kilometre of each other. Some exceptions are permitted though under a narrow set of guidelines.

In this case, the new store would be about 0.97 kilometres “as the crow flies” from the Government Street Liquor Store, according to Randhawa. “If we drive it, it’s 1.1 kilometres.”

That’s still too close for comfort for Jeff Leonard, part-owner of the Government Street outlet, so about a month ago he started a petition that he’ll send to the LCLB and City Hall. So far, 400-plus people have signed on to oppose Three Gables’ move.

Leonard said the relocation will cut into his business, which he said has created jobs and contributed $18,000 to charity in the past two years. Further, he said Randhawa is missing out on an opportunity to capitalize on plans for downtown revitalization.

“If he’d just put money into his business, he’d get money back.” Leonard said.

Randhawa, however, doubts people in the Government Street area will venture down to Fairview Road, past the government-owned liquor store at Penticton Plaza, to buy booze at Three Gables.

Westminster Liquor Store manager Jim Larocque also has the petition at his shop. He’s worried that if the LCLB permits an exception to the one-kilometre rule, it will set a precedent that could hurt his business later.

“That’s supposed to be protecting every one of us in the industry,” Larocque said.

His other concern, as a resident of the Fairview Road area, is the undesirables the store might bring with it.

“I’m pretty sure no one wants the Gables in their neighbourhood.”

That’s partly why the downtown’s biggest booster actually supports the idea of winding down the Three Gables liquor store and the low-income housing above it to clear the way for redevelopment.

Before the portion of the Three Gables Hotel that fronted Main Street was destroyed by fire in 2000, “it was an active part of the community,” said Downtown Penticton Association executive director Barb Haynes.

“I think when that was all occurring, it was a different business than it currently is,” she said. “I would think that, again, from their perspective, (the current clientele) is probably not necessarily the clientele they’re looking for either. So with those things in mind, it probably makes good sense for them to move.”

Haynes has not discussed the matter with Randhawa, but suggested the site would do best as a redeveloped indoor market with a residential component above.

An LCLB spokesperson declined comment on Three Gables’ relocation application, citing privacy legislation.


Just Posted

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)
Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

“Too much health can be harmful to your health.”

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
5-storeys still too tall for Penticton’s downtown, votes city council

Vote against new development leaves one councillor questioning validity of city’s zoning restrictions

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Cheetahs can’t roar

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Highway 3, east of Osoyoos was closed all Monday due to a liquid tar spilled all over the road.
Highway 3, east of Osoyoos, is now open to single lane traffic

The highway was closed all Monday due to liquid tar spilled all over the road

Teenagers make their way to Truswell Road after a party is broken up by police at the end of Mission Creek (Lorraine Besner/Contributed).
Kelowna residents concerned about ongoing alleged underage beach parties

Public urination, property damage, drinking and drug usage have become weekly concerns

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Six United Way chapters around the province are merging into United Way B.C. (News Bulletin file photo)
6 United Way chapters merging around B.C.

Money raised in communities will stay in those communities, agency says

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Send your letter to the editor via email to Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Regulations needed for short-term rentals in Summerland

Summerland still does not have bylaw rules that govern the management of short-term rentals

A new air cleaning technology will be installed at Unisus School in Summerland. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Virus cleaning pilot set for Unisus School in Summerland

Summerland-based lighting company to install technology at private school

A West Kelowna man was seriously injured in a single-vehicle collision early on Tuesday morning. (Black Press file photo)
Single vehicle collision seriously injures West Kelowna man

The man was driving a pickup truck that went off the road and caught on fire

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read