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Letter to Mayor and Council re 450 Swift Street, Craft Beer Market – Application to Amend Liquor Licenses

The Victoria Downtown Residents Association has recently received a complaint letter submitted by a resident of Mermaid Wharf regarding the operations of the Craft Beer Market. The complaint letter was written pursuant to the application by Craft to combine two liquor primary licences into one licence and to change hours of operation for the liquor primary licence. The net impact of the changes would be to allow more liquor primary seats and longer hours of operation for the liquor primary seats on the outdoor patio.


The letter of complaint addresses these primary concerns:

  • Extremely loud music from the inside and outside speakers prevents many residents from getting a good night’s sleep. It is reported that the music is so loud that it can be heard across the harbour.

  • Craft Beer staff regularly playing music from these speakers after the hours allowed according to the liquor primary or food primary licences. This has resulted in Mermaid Wharf residents going into the premises to ask staff to turn the outside speakers off and lower the volume of the indoor speakers.

  • Noise disturbances from patrons exiting Craft after their hours of operation along with no attempt by Craft staff to move these patrons along


The writer of the leVer states that “resident owners and long-term renters have moved from Mermaid Wharf because of the excessive disruptive noise levels coming from the pub which makes it difficult for them to work from home and/or get enough sleep at night”.


The writer of the letter cites regulations for entertainment venues in the City of Vancouver that require speakers to be located within the building and recommends that the existing licences for Craft be modified to prohibit outdoor speakers.


When Craft initially applied for licences in 2022, the DRA Land Use Committee (DRALUC) sent a letter to Mayor and Council, stating that:

  • This location has a long history of conflict with the neighbouring Mermaid Wharf.

  • The patio is now covered and operating all year, which exacerbates the issues with nearby residential spaces.

  • There is a high probability that ongoing noise harassment at Mermaid Wharf will increase if the patio becomes liquor primary.


In conclusion, the DRA LUC letter stated that:

“Overall, the DRA LUC does not support liquor licence amendments that will likely negatively affect adjacent residents. The DRA LUC furthermore recommends a wait of a full year under the current licencing for the applicant, new to the City, to demonstrate the ability to be a good neighbour.”


“Applications such as this one, highlight the acute need for a Municipal Alcohol policy for a neighbourhood where residences and late-night liquor venues share a close proximity. The DRA LUC is disappointed that this policy was promised by the previous Council as a Strategic Plan deliverable for 2019 and yet no action has been taken to date. We hope our new Council will prioritize this important policy as it will provide the necessary help to both residents and establishment owners.”


The DRA Board of Directors supports this position from the DRA LUC and is very concerned that despite several recent enquiries, the Municipal Alcohol Policy still has not been released. We urge postponement of a decision on this Allocation to Amend the Liquor Licences for the Craft Beer Market until such time as the Municipal Alcohol Policy has been released. Further, we urge that if these amendments to the liquor licences are approved, that the use of outdoor speakers be prohibited.


Regards

Sandra Severs,

President

Victoria Downtown Residents Association



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