Visitors to the restaurant in the Chances Chilliwack gaming centre still won't be able to dance to the music after city council rejected an application at Tuesday's meeting.
Couns. Chuck Stam, Ken Huttema, Ken Popove and Stewart McLean voted against Great Canadian Gaming's liquor licence amendment application to allow for patron participation in the dining area and the outdoor patio of The Well restaurant.
The matter was in front of council for the second time after a deadlocked three-three vote in January left the matter in limbo.
After spirited discussion at that Jan. 22 meeting, Couns. Ken Huttema, Chuck Stam and Ken Popove voted to deny the application while Couns. Jason Lum, Stewart McLean and Mayor Sharon Gaetz voted to approve. Coun. Sue Attrill was absent.
Tie votes on motions to approve and deny were defeated sending the matter back this week for reconsideration.
Owners of a number of local pubs submitted letters and spoke in opposition to the application. Both Friendly Mike's general manager John Toussaint and Corky's owner Bob Harms were in attendance in January and again Tuesday to speak in opposition.
"Why tweak a food-primary licence and then open up a can of worms then all other food primary could do the same?" Toussaint asked. "If they want a liquor primary then apply for it."
Great Canadian Gaming vice-president Howard Blank was also again in attendance to defend the application.
Also at the meeting were a number of other individuals supporting the casino's application, including performer Gary Savard, president of the Fraser Valley Magic Circle, a group of local magicians.
Other residents also spoke in favour of the liquor licence amendment calling the restriction against patron participation at food primary establishments silly.
"Let 'em go, let's have some fun," resident Bob Buhler told council.
Coun. Ken Huttema asked Blank why the corporation was asking for the liquor licence amendment now if they always knew they were going to have entertainment.
Blank said they were not allowed to apply for the patron participation until the food primary licence was received. He also said the business has been public about the fact that eventually they want a liquor primary licence.
After the public hearing, Attrill moved to approve the application, which was seconded by Lum.
In discussing the matter, both Huttema and McLean said if the owners wanted a liquor primary licence then they should apply for that instead of this stop-gap measure.
The application was defeated by councillors four to two. McLean voted in favour of the application on Jan. 22 and his change of heart led to its defeat as Gaetz likely would have broken the tie in favour of the amendment.
Council's decision is not final as the application will now be forwarded to the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for final approval.
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