Sidney council has formally endorsed plans for a local barber shop to start serving liquor, but not before toughening recommended conditions of approval.
Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith joined Couns. Sara Duncan, Barbara Fallot, Terri O’Keeffe and Peter Wainwright in endorsing a liquor primary application from Cut Cartel Barbers Lounge to add a liquor primary licence to its operations at 2425 Bevan Ave. against the opposing votes of Couns. Scott Garnett and Chad Rintoul.
The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) will now consider the application. But the support of council for the application comes with recommended conditions tougher than previously formulated.
With liquor service being available at 10 a.m., councillors would like to see liquor service end 30 minutes earlier by 7:30 p.m. Council also amended language prohibiting any outdoor seating to include a breezeway near the business, while adding stipulation against amplified music. Council also signed off on language that calls on the LCRB to only permit liquor service during the delivery of personal services such as hair cutting. Finally, it also asks the LCRB not to issue a special events license as long as the liquor primary license remains effective — a recommended condition the LCRB may not follow, the public heard from staff.
Mindful of this potential, Rintoul said that council might be better off including this language in the preamble to its comments.
Shimmering throughout the debate was the fear that the barber shop would remain a barber shop in name only, but not in practice.
Fallot was perhaps the most forceful voice in articulating this fear, when she warned her colleagues against allowing the barber shop to turn into something like a pub.
“It [the proposed liquor service] is not just enhancing the services of the barber shop,” she said. “We are going into uncharted territory and we just have to be careful.”
During this part of the discussion, the public heard from staff that the application would allow customers to come into the business for a drink without getting their hair cut, with the proviso that staff were not entirely sure.
Duncan, meanwhile, said that the concept of serving liquor in hair salons has proven itself elsewhere.
Anna Thomas, who owns the salon along with Darren Enns, said last month that liquor service in barber shops has been available in many other countries around the world for years. “I would say 80 to 90 per cent of our clients are adult customers, who would like to be able enjoy a beer with their service,” she said. On a daily basis, we are being asked when we are going to get a liquor licence.”
Thomas said later that the focus of the business would not change. “Our intention is not be a bar or a night club,” she said. “We want to be a barber shop that offers a drink or a beer with our service.”
But if so, the public also heard a notable voice of opposition from Garnett, who wondered about the motivation behind having a drink while getting a hair cut.
By way of background, staff had endorsed the application subject to various conditions, now toughened. But some members of council did not necessarily buy some of the feedback from the public. Wainwright, for example, argued that petition in favour of the business signed by more than 100 people was of limited use, because it lacked the addresses of signatories. Much of the opposition, meanwhile, appears to be local, he said.
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