KALEDEN, BC – People in Kaleden want to pick up a bottle of wine, along with their jug of milk, just like they did three years ago.
“We used to come up here, and it would be filled with wine and beer,” says Mick Maloney as he points to a cooler that now holds juice and milk.
The Lakeview General Store in Kaleden was closed and placed for sale in 2011.
When David McDonald purchased it, he thought he’d be able to obtain a liquor license, like the previous owners.
“When it was vacant and for sale, it was presented as a general store/liquor store, which should have the grandfather clause applied,” says Mcdonald.
But the BC Liquor Distribution Branch didn’t apply the grandfather clause because the store was closed for a period of time.
In addition, the Branch wouldn’t grant a new license because the store is about 10 km away from shop that does sell liquor.
“The 10 km minimum distance requirement is an important element for rural B.C. and intended to avoid proliferation of retail liquor outlets in smaller communities,” explains Blain Lawson, General Manager of the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.
Maloney calls this rule antiquated and is worried this could promote drinking and driving.
“For instance, one morning I was having a cold beer out in my yard, and I had another one in my fridge, but a friend came over. So we decided we wanted another beer, and had to drive all the way to Okanagan Falls to get it,” he says.
But until the policy changes, he and other Kaleden residents must continue to make the drive to buy booze.