The former Country Squire gift store property is being eyed as the possible site of a craft distillery, prompting Clinton council to make amendments to its zoning bylaw. (Photo credit: Journal files)

The former Country Squire gift store property is being eyed as the possible site of a craft distillery, prompting Clinton council to make amendments to its zoning bylaw. (Photo credit: Journal files)

Clinton council paving the way for a possible craft distillery

New business could be located on the site of the former Country Squire gift store

Loan authorization

At the Jan. 27, 2021 meeting council gave first, second, and third readings to Loan Authorization Bylaw 571, 2021, and adopted it on May 10. Mayor Susan Swan explained that part of the loan process includes a resolution of council approving the borrowing of the funds, which was approved at the May 26 meeting.

The village will be borrowing $1.2 million over a 30-year term for the construction of a new public works facility at Elliott Park.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw

Council gave third reading and adoption to a bylaw amendment that will permit craft distilleries and micro-breweries in the Highway Service Commercial Zone. The amendment was prompted by a request from someone interested in purchasing a property in that zone and operating a craft distillery on the premises.

When the bylaw amendment was given first and second readings on April 28, council decided to waive holding a public hearing, as in their opinion the proposed use was not a large departure from other already permitted uses. Mayor Susan Swan recused herself from that discussion and from the discussion on May 26, as she is one of the current owners of the property in question, where the Country Squire store — now closed — is located.

The only dissent came in a letter from Ted Pappas, who suggested there might be a conflict of interest, in that chief administrative officer Murray Daly recommended that public hearings be waived, and the CAO is the employee of the mayor and the rest of council. Pappas also raised concerns about a craft distillery selling alcoholic beverages possibly threatening the viability of Clinton’s liquor store via competition, particularly on a Sunday, and asked about insurance coverage issues surrounding having a distillery in the community.

Coun. Christine Rivett noted that insurance has been looked into and there is no problem. She added that a business was operating in the location under discussion since before Pappas moved to Clinton, and it was not possible to guarantee that usage would remain the same.

“I think any kind of new business in Clinton is wonderful,” she said. “It’s not conflicting with any other businesses we’ve got here. Microbreweries are all over the place… As for potential explosions, we have gas stations in town here, which I think could be a lot worse.”

Coun. Sandi Burrage said that microbreweries are “with the times”, and that she felt the village had fulfilled its obligations in making the matter public. Coun. Kim McIlravey added her support for the proposed microbrewery: “It will add more spark to our town.”

Coun. David Park asked Daly if he had any concerns with the letter. Daly noted that gas stations were potentially greater hazards than a distillery, and that because of regulations it would probably be more than a year before a craft distillery was operational. The zoning change, he said, was only the first step in the process; the business owners would face a number of other regulatory hurdles.

Noise Control Bylaw

Council gave first two readings to a new Noise Control Bylaw, which would replace the current bylaw that dates back to 1983. That bylaw references out of date legislation, and contains items such as a prohibition on construction activity on a Sunday. The move is being made in advance of the hiring of a joint bylaw enforcement officer between Clinton, Cache Creek, and Ashcroft.

Park raised a question about a seeming contradiction in two separate references to animal and bird noises. He also asked about the maximum fine of $10,000 for an infraction. Daly explained that the fine would be a last resort, and intended to recover court and other costs in dealing with a persistent and continued flouting of the bylaw. He also said that changes would be made regarding the animal and bird noise clauses, and the amended bylaw would then come back before council.

The meeting went into closed session at 7:30 p.m.

All minutes and agendas for Clinton council meetings can be found on the Village’s website at Meetings normally take place on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, and begin at 7 p.m. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 9.

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