Currently, the Legion is Sooke is only permitted to provide food and alcohol service to it’s membership. On January 29 2018, Sooke Council considered a request to rezone the Legion facilities in Sooke, 6726 Eustace Road, from Community Facility (P2) to General Commercial(C2).
Based on correspondence included in the request of Council, the Legion was asking to expand their reach, as sales to members have been diminishing over the years. They currently operate as a Liquor Primary Club, offering food and alcoholic beverages to members and guests in the lounge, and hall rentals to members, guests, and the community. This decision was supported by their membership in a recent vote.
The current P2 zoning does not allow for liquor primary licenses, which is why they are applying to be rezoned as C2.
“The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #54 is a nonprofit organization that has been located in Sooke since 1926 and has supported the Community, Veterans, Seniors and Youth extensively with over $42,000 being contributed in 2016 alone,” reads a apart of their letter penned by Jan Watson, the president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 54. “By transitioning our liquor license to allow the community to enter the lounge and hall, it will enable us to continue to expand our local giving to the many senior and youth organizations as well as our veterans.
“Over the last ten years, the Royal Canadian Legion organization has continued to open the doors wider and wider to welcome members of the public. in this new era of expanded drinking locations, and decreasing alcohol consumption, legions are falling behind in revenues and are facing extinction. In November of 2016, the BCLCB changed licensing to permit restaurants to serve alcohol without food service, effectively making every restaurant into a pub. In January of 2017, the liquor branch introduced a new policy that will permit any business, except those that operate in a motor vehicle or are primarily directed at minors, can now apply for a liquor primary license.”
They do not intend to change their current hours of operation, and they will continue to encourage membership sales.
“The Legion will continue to hold community events, dances, activities, and fund raising for local organizations and veterans.”
The Legion also aims to support Sooke’s local breweries under the new zone.
Watson, who spoke briefly at the Regular Meeting, said the Sooke Legion was leading the charge on opening the Legion doors to the general public. Staff noted that the Legion would have to re-apply to continue with their current tax exemption, and it would be up to council on whether they wanted to continue with a full exemption or move to a partial one.
The First and Second Reading of the Rezoning Application for 6726 Eustace Road passed, and a public hearing will be scheduled.
Also from the January 29 2018 Regular Council meeting:
- Earthquake and tsunami emergency system update
- Having rallied for Sooke Rd improvements, this volunteer Economic Development Group turns attention to Tourism
- Sooke Legion initiates process to permit alcohol service to the public
- Green team proposes collaboration partnership with the District of Sooke
Present at this meeting were Mayor Maja Tait and Councillors Bev Berger, Rick Kasper and Kevin Pearson.
Absent were Councillors Brenda Parkinson, Ebony Logins, and Kerry Reay.
The full agenda is available here: Regular Council – 15 Jan 2018 – Minutes – Pdf