Changes to liquor store hours slated for April

Starting in April the BC Liquor Store in Williams Lake will open Sundays and extend its weekday hours, said manager Dan Davis.

Starting in April the BC Liquor Store in Williams Lake will open Sundays and extend its weekday hours, said manager Dan Davis following a provincial government announcement outlining changes to liquor sales in the province.

April 1, 2015, will mark the first day that grocery stores are allowed to sell liquor through the store-within-a-store model and on that same day, restrictions will be lifted on BC Liquor Stores, allowing them to offer refrigeration and to stay open longer hours, including on Sundays.

“Our store here is a major beer store for that half-store walk-in cooler type thing, we’ll be high on the list for that,” Davis said Thursday from the Borland Street store location.

He envisions being open Sundays for about five hours like the BC Liquor Signature Stores did when they first started and staying open until 8 or 9 p.m. on other evenings.

As an organization, BC Liquor Stores have been wanting to extend hours but have been operating with one hand tied behind their back, Davis said.

“I think the union and staff are all for it, even the Sundays, and it’s something that’s mandated from our head office so it’s not something we’d have a lot of choice in.”

Marketing surveys carried out by the organization have indicated people want more flexibility of hours because there are a lot of people who get off work at 6 p.m. and arrive when the store is closed.

“We have a great working relationship right now with our wholesale customers and private retailers who pick up from us and I don’t know what the impact on them will be with the changes,” Davis said.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has concerns about increasing access to liquor sales in B.C.

“The public might think all these changes are really good until you start to see more impaired driving, more problems with alcohol,” MADD CEO Andy Murie said Thursday. “With more availability and longer hours of sale, the evidence usually shows the problems.”

It’s all new and won’t go into effect until April 2015, however, Murie said MADD is worried about what could happen.