Town considering liquor license for the UCCU Complex

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Could there be a liquor license coming for the UCCU Complex?

It’s too soon to say for sure, but town council has voted to direct administration to work with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission (AGCO) in determining the feasibility of a liquor license for the complex. It would be for special events and not day-to-day use, says recreation department administration.

Town council considered a report from manager of business development and programs Rick Daly on the issue of licensing the UCCU Complex as a way to create non-tax revenue.

The current plan calls for such areas as the floor area and seating of both rinks to be licensed as well as the indoor turf field, including the walking track. The lobby and connecting hallways would also be licensed, if approved, as well as the leasing space off the hallway leading beside the indoor turf field. The field house area and yet-to-be-built football grandstands may also be licensed.

The arena dressing rooms and the corridors leading to them would not be licensed nor would the mezzanine level or dressing rooms in the indoor turf field.

The report from Daly stated other communities and similar facilities have a strategy for “a safe method of alcohol sales through liquor licensing of their facilities.”

The UCCU Complex would not directly compete with private businesses, administration contends.

“The purpose of applying for the liquor sales license is not to sell alcohol on a daily basis or in direct competition with local establishments, rather it is to enhance the entertainment experience at the town’s high profile events as well as generate additional non-tax revenue through alcohol sales,” the report states.

Town Logo Small-web The recreation and culture department’s report also noted the complex has been able to host “many types of high profile functions” including the World Under-17 Hockey Championships, the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Shores of Erie Lobster Fest.

“The complex provides a safe, controlled environment for these events to take place in,” the report states.   “However, the town has not taken advantage of the opportunity to generate non-tax revenue through controlled liquor sales.”

As part of the feasibility study, staff met with Sgt. Dan Michaud, unit leader of the Inspection and Investigation Bureau from the AGCO, a meeting the recreation and culture department referred to as “extremely constructive.”

The report noted the application process for a new liquor sales license takes between 10-12 weeks but “this process can be longer if risks have been identified by AGCO that warrant further investigation.”

The application must be advertised in local newspapers and administration will be required to post signage at the UCCU Complex advising the community of the application for a liquor sales license.

The town would have to pay $1,055 for the application while advertising and signage would bring the estimated total to $2,000. Renewing the license is $450.

All costs would be covered under the department’s 2013 operating budget. although “administration continues to look for avenues to offset expenses, possibly by aligning sales of alcohol with sponsorship opportunities specific to events with alcohol sales.”

The town is also “in discussions” for a possible sponsorship arrangement with a local brewery  but that arrangement depends on getting the license.

Councillor Bart      DiPasquale spoke in favour of going forward with trying to get a license.

“I think this is a great idea,” said DiPasquale.

DiPasquale emphasized the town is not looking to compete with local establishments and that this license, if approved, would help enhance large events staged at the UCCU Complex.

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