If you’ve been following current affairs in our exciting mountain town you are doubtless well aware of the controversy swirling around Benoit Doucet’s application for a liquor primary licence to operate a wine bar in the old Spice o’ Life space on Second Street East. This shouldn’t be controversial but it has proven to be so. (To find out more please go here, here and here to read the history of this local brouhaha and here to read about the most recent episode.)
The bottom line right now is that Council, in its wisdom, is asking people to state directly to it whether they want the City to endorse or oppose Doucet’s application. If you’d like to see Council do the right thing and endorse — or not endorse — his application for a liquor licence please send your e-mail to Laurie Donato, the City’s Manager of Development Services, in the Planning Department at:email@example.com. If you’d like to CC it to The Current please cut-and-paste this e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org into the CC field on the e-mail form.
Please be sure to include your address. The City will want to know that you are actually a Revelstoke resident. The Current will not include your address.
All letters CC’d to The Current will be posted as they arrive:
To Mayor Raven and City Council,
The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is writing to express its support for the proposed Wine Bar at 107 Second Street West by Mr. Benoit Ducet. We are writing to you on behalf of the 312 business members we have been elected to represent.
The proposed Wine Bar is a new and distinctive business which is not currently available in Revelstoke, yet would complement and add to the uniqueness of Revelstoke’s business climate. Additionally, this new business would cater to a specific market segment which is currently underserviced in Revelstoke. This market segment has been aggressively marketed to for several years by Revelstoke Tourism, the City of Revelstoke mandated Destination Marketing Organization.
The Chamber of Commerce strongly recommends City Council review current and future business licensing applications based upon fact and the present merits, not based upon unsubstantiated opinion or what a business could become years hence.
Furthermore, in the future should Council have concerns regarding the language of provincial laws or regulations, the Chamber of Commerce recommends Council contact the proper regulatory agencies directly to effect change, rather than the perceived punishment of a local entrepreneur for something outside of his/her control.
Lesley Evans, Melodie Kindret, Emma Kirkland, John Pearce, Poppi Reiner and Brydon Roe
To the Mayor and City Council of Revelstoke
I am writing in support of Benoit’s Wine Bar. This establishment would be a refreshing addition to our beautiful mountain town. Mr. Doucet should be applauded for his passion and hard work
Dear Ms Donato,
I am writing to support the application for Benoit’s Wine Bar. His business would enhance the downtown night life by giving options to those people who want to have a quiet place to enjoy a glass of wine with friends or alone. I have been to wine bars in other communities in the evening by myself and have felt perfectly comfortable reading or chatting with neighbouring tables without feeling I was out of place.
If I think of a perfect Saturday for myself and quiet a few of my friends in Revelstoke it might look like this: wandering down to the Farmers Market for local organic produce and great company; buying a fresh loaf of artisan bread just up the street; taking in a yoga class and doing a number of great outdoors activities the rest of the day; and finally, stopping off for a perfect glass of wine and a quiet chat at the local wine bar.
Please, City Council, approve Benoit’s application and show me that my hometown can evolve. I don’t want to drive to Nelson every weekend.
I support Benoit’s Wine Bar.
I think that a wine bar would be an asset to this community. I think that Revelstoke could really use an establishment that would appeal to a more mature crowd. Some may have forgotten that there were actually more drinking establishments in this town a few years ago: King Edward Hotel, Foxy’s and more recently the Big Eddy Pub are gone now. Furthermore I don’t believe that people drink more because there are more drinking establishments, anymore than people eat out more because there are more restaurants.
Attn. Ms. Donato:
I would like to express my support for Benoit Doucet’s proposed wine bar on Second St. I am shocked and disappointed that the City turned down his licence application, especially because of the spurious way in which it was denied.
His establishment is to be an elegant, relaxed location for the enjoyment of good wine, not an after hours bar, and as such will only add to the attractiveness of the downtown. Pandering to the opinions of a few disgruntled residents sends the message that the City is not supportive of growth and new business. Benoit has devoted a lot of money and time to a building that would otherwise be standing empty — right next to the collection of other empty buildings on that block. The City of Revelstoke should allow this project to move forward.
Dear Laurie Donato and the City of Revelstoke Planning Department,
I am writing to support granting a license to Benoit’s Wine Bar. If Revelstoke is going to grow into the world class resort that it wants to become these types of initiatives need to be supported and allowed to progress. We need nice places where people can go in order to enjoy a social evening, meet old friends and encounter new friends. This opportunity is currently lacking in Revelstoke. As we grow on the Tourist/Skier radar the visitor and guests to our community need a place to relax in the evenings, a place where they too can meet friends and make new friends instead of sitting in their motel/hotel room. Benoit’s Wine Bar is also located in the downtown core of our community, as RMR develops it’s base area we must maintain a vibrant town centre that stays alive and has reason for people to visit the downtown core and not just stay up at the resort. Finally Benoit’s is within easy walking distance of most of the homes in Revelstoke so people will not be required to get in their car to go have a social evening and enjoy a glass of wine.
Come on City of Revelstoke Planning, lets make our community a more liveable place.
This letter is in support of Benoit’s application for a liquor license.
The issue regarding drunk and disorderly people emerging from the existing nightclubs is not effectively addressed by putting a moratorium on all types of liquor licenses. Is the next step to stop issuing building permits, due to the potential for creation of grow ops and crack houses?
Benoit’s research has shown that there is demand in this community for a place where mature people can relax and enjoy a fine wine.
Give Benoit a chance and don’t hamper him by restricting the types of beverages he can serve.
Dear Ms. Donato and City Councillors:
Please register two yes votes in favour of Benoit Doucet’s wine bar.
The proposed wine bar will be a positive addition to Revelstoke’s entertainment and cultural life. Previous letters in your file explain the demographics of wine bar business, are properly indignant about the presumption of moralities involved in the refusal of this license, and discuss Revelstoke’s need for additional entertainment and cultural outlets. The rejection of petition as a means of determining public policy is, as David Rooney points out, the most troubling issue of all in this brou-ha-ha.
At this point there’s little to add to this file, but perhaps we can make the point that public spaces are part of a civilized society. The summer music in the square has added to the life of Revelstokians and visitors alike. When people ask us why seven years ago we chose Revelstoke as a retirement community, the music-in-the-square program is one thing we mention as symbolic of community spirit. At a time when the cultural habits of families tend toward cocooning in front of one screen or another, and when the demands of work and leisure erode free time given to casual unplanned conversation with neighbours, the addition of any space that invites interaction is welcome. We have sports fields and events, pubs, one theatre, coffee shops (that close, usually, in the evenings) and restaurants. A wine bar would be one more place for the same. Why is this a bad thing? Even if this bar does end up as a night club–which seems unlikely–where is the argument for turning it down? Noise? The sports weekends in town generate so much noise on summer long weekends that those who live downtown often leave rather than endure.
On a personal note: how very nice it would be, on a drizzly grey November evening when there’s nothing worthwhile on the box, to walk downtown after dinner for a glass of wine. How nice, on a summer’s evening, to enjoy a glass of wine chatting to a spouse or a friend and neighbour.
Please give Benoit’s wine bar a license to do business in Revelstoke, quickly, before he gives up and trots off with his talent, energy and ideas, to set up elsewhere.
Yours in bewilderment and growing impatience,
Leslie and David Savage
Just a quick e-mail, in favour of Benoit’s wine bar. Apparently, I need somewhere nice to take my girlfriend for a quiet enjoyable drink!
I would like to see the City reconsider and ENDORSE Mr. Doucet’s liquor license application.
I support Benoit in his efforts to operate a wine bar in Revelstoke.
To Laurie Donato,
I would like to add my name to the list in favor of Benoit Duocet’s application for a wine bar.
To Mayor Raven and City Council,
I am taking the time to write to you to express my opinion on the proposed wine bar by Benoit Doucet. I have already signed the petition that was not properly done but was done the same as its predecessor, against the wine bar. I think it would be a wonderful idea. Something different! Regardless of the license from the King Edward Hotel is used or not should not be a concern. It’s been sitting idle for how long now? Benoit is trying to implement something that is lacking in our city. No offence to the 112 Lounge but it’s nice to have a choice. I say let him set it up and wish him well with this new adventure here in Revelstoke. If you turn down this liquor license, what happens next time? Does RMR automatically get one? Does the new hotel under construction automatically get one? It’s not a “pub” or “bar” aiming towards loud and crazy parties. It’s more of a gathering place that’s a heck of a lot quieter that’s for sure. Perhaps a little Jazz or blues would be nice with that glass of wine.
This is a no-brainer — of course Mr. Doucet should get his licence. Stop being an embarrassment to the citizens of Revelstoke and give the man his licence!
Dear Ms. Donato:
As the owner of Spice O’ Life Emporium, the previous tenant of 107 Second Street East, I have been privy to Benoit Doucet’s plans for his property for a few years. To those who haven’t had the privilege of travelling to Europe, the term “bistro” may be unfamiliar, but that is in essence what Mr. Doucet has planned. His wine bar would make a pleasant addition to Revelstoke’s evening establishments. Many of us older folk want a quiet atmosphere where we can enjoy the conversation and company of other like-minded individuals. Please reconsider Benoit Doucet’s proposal and allow him to improve Revelstoke’s night-life!
Dear Laurie et al,
Please accept this letter/email as confirmation of our support for the Wine Bar.
I am extremely encouraged to see so many people of Revelstoke coming together in unity for what they believe in.
The Olympic Spirit is obviously still with us.
I Believe in justice, democracy & common sense prevailing!
Do you believe?
Kathy & Colin Horkley
People make mistakes! I am sure that by now you realize that a mistake has been made in the treatment of Benoit Doucet’s application for a license for his new wine bar. This is no time for posturing and trying to save face. Admit that you have made an error, and were hasty in your decision, apologize to Benoit, give him your blessing and wish him well in his endeavor to make this a better community. Stop wasting staff’s very valuable time, and move on! The true measure of a politician is not in the mistakes they have made, but in how they deal with them, and the speed in which they correct them.
We are in full support of Benoit Doucet’s application for a licence for his new wine bar. This proposal offers Revelstoke residents and visitors a different type of experience than is currently available in our town. There is a tremendous amount of support for this new business among the residents of Revelstoke, and it will be an asset to our town.
We look forward to seeing a favourable decision regarding this application.
Wendy & Richard Mulligan
Mayor and City Council,
I am in full support of Benoit Doucet’s Liquor Application for his Wine Bar on 107 2nd East Street.
In a Hertitage building which needs some TLC Benoit is putting his whole heart into this project. Support from the mayor and city council is what this project needs. I hope these letters of support encourage you to make the right decision.
We fully support Mr Doucet’s application for a wine bar licence. To have a place where sophisticated people can go in the evenings to have a glass of fine wine and chat to their friends would be a great asset to the city. There is nowhere to do that at present, since all the existing bars either have televisions blaring, non-stop sports on large screens or live ‘music’ in which more often than not volume is confused with talent.
A wine bar would be a wonderful addition to the city’s evening facilities.
David & Lesley Evans
My name is Trevor Allan, I am a Revelstoke resident deeply concerned for the future of this town, given the nature of our city council.
It seems that the ridiculously bureaucratic council is doing all in their power to squash any attempt at building a town culture we can be proud of. As a home owner, I am obviously interested in Revelstoke becoming a world class destination. This feat s not easily conquered, and with the help of our council, it will be a far fetched reality.
I am in absolute support of Benoit’s venture as it will add a much needed element of class to Revelstoke’s embarrassing night life. To those who are in opposition of this wine bar, I believe that you are clinging on to an outdated sense of reality, and will only succeed in fending off investment in this town to “keep it the way it was”.
Revelstoke is in an economic boom at the moment as a direct result of the new development. If this is the style in which we welcome further investment, it will not be a surprise to see the town sink back into its economic decline as the Rail and Timber industries recede.
It’s funny that some locals only want to see infrastructure development that suits them, no more, no less. This is not the way business works, and I hope that soon we can elect a city council that actually understands the merits of such development.
In closing, I do understand the concern of those FEW petitioning against the wine bar, but i urge you to cease aligning this style of establishment to the Regent’s River CIty Pub, and realize that only through progressive thought and action will this town become what most of us believe t will be.
Thank you for your time.
Dear City Staff and City Councilors:
We write to you in favor of Benoit Doucet’s wine bar.
We thought it would be handy to have some information regarding the type of clientele that frequent these types of establishments.
Please see the below demographics from the 2006 Vancouver Wine festival. Considering the information below we think that the concerns that the original opposition had to the wine bar are out of place. The patrons that will be enjoying this Wine Bar will be less likely to be making noise, mess and starting fires. We would also predict that they won’t be out that late. Please consider all these facts and all of the comments from local residents before making your decision.
Shawn & Young Seon Cook
Consumer Survey Highlights (2006) The 21,500 wine lovers who flock to the Playhouse Winefest, widely regarded as “the best wine show on the continent,” are young, affluent urban professionals who spend an average of $152 per month on wine. Their primary reason for attending the festival is to “discover new wines.” Their average age is 39, while 29.3% are under 30. Vancouver has a highly developed, educated wine market that is considered to be three to five years ahead of North American wine trends.
Average age is 39 19 – 25: 13.5% 26 – 30: 15.8% 31 – 40: 29.2% 41 – 50: 22.1% 51 – 60: 15.1% over 60: 4.3%
Females – 58% Males – 42%
Average household income: $107,000 $200,000 and up: 12.1%; $150,000 to $199,000: 10.5%; $100,000 to $149,000: 19.4% ; $75,000 to $99,999: 14.6%; $50,000-$74,999: 21.9%; and under $50,000: 21.5%.
Highly educated: 80.5 percent have a post-secondary degree; 41.8% professionals and 27.7% executive/senior management ; 59.5% are married; 62.7% own their home; and 44.1% live in a detached residence.
The average Playhouse Winefest attendee:
- Dines out seven times per month, spending an average of $426 ;
- Spends $152 per month on wine;
- Spends $194 per month on entertainment, including films, sports, theatre, opera, art galleries and other activities.;
- Owns a vehicle (88% own a vehicle, of which 59.2% are cars and 13.6% are SUVs; 20.1% are luxury vehicles).;
- Travels six times per year – 67.3% take between one and six airline trips per year.;
- Owns high-end electronics and computers, plans to buy more;
- Is web literate, uses mobile phone and email devices, PDAs; and
- Is financially savvy — invests, uses a variety of financial products.
This letter is in support of Benoit’s proposed Wine Bar. I think that this business would be a great asset to this community in general and downtown in particular. It is unfortunate that some ill-considered criticism was able to derail this application so easily. Considering that there used to be a bar across the road from that building, and that it was formerly a sex shop, it seems fairly bizarre that the application for a license was turned down. I am sure that Benoit’s business will be nothing but positive for that neighborhood.
I am in favour or allowing Benoit to proceed with his wine bar. Like many others, I feel it would be nice to have another option available when going out to enjoy a casual drink on the town.
I would definitely question a process that will most likely, in the future, grant a license to a large entity like RMR for their upcoming wine bar, if it was not granted to a small independent business owner in the first place.
Thank you for considering my comment.
I am writing to express my support of Benoit Doucet’s Liquor License application.
Revelstoke is a growing city and I feel that establishment of new ‘Licensed’ venues is obviously a part of any City’s growth.
Benoit’s vision of a tasteful and respectable Wine Bar is, in my opinion, the best possible style of licensed establishment that I could ever hope to see in Revelstoke, to set the standard of Revelstoke’s developing culture. Benoit’s Wine Bar would fill a void in our city’s entertainment options adding to Revelstoke’s appeal for everybody.
Please help guide Revelstoke to enhance it’s culture in a positive direction by approving Benoit Doucet’s Liquor License application.
This email is a short note to express my family’s support of the new wine bar to be opened in Revelstoke by Benoit Doucet.
The idea of a sophisticated establishment downtown sounds like a wonderful addition to what Revelstoke already has to offer. Until now there has been nowhere you can actually go for an after dinner drink and a quiet chat with a partner or friends. I find some of the bars downtown too noisy to create this sort of atmosphere and most only serve generic wine with no thought put into its selection. I see this new wine bar as a place for adults who are looking for a different kind of evening that perhaps isn’t offered at The Regent, The Last Drop or Outabounds which seem to cater more to mass consumed alcohol, live music and a ‘party atmosphere’. I have no problems with these establishments either, however sometimes you want another, more refined option. As a growing resort town we need to be extending options to our visitors to attract a wider clientele and it is important to recognise that Revelstoke needn’t just build a reputation as a place for young party-people to come.
I was very excited at hearing about this proposed idea and I hope the city has the sense to approve the application.
Anita Hallewas and Blair Brennan
To Revelstoke City Staff and City Council,
I fully support Mr. Doucet’s application for a liquor licence to operate a wine bar in downtown Revelstoke.
Dear Revelstoke City Staff and Councillors,
I want the city to endorse Benoit Doucet’s application to open a wine bar. I am completely in support of his proposal. I feel that this wine bar will be an improvement for a sad looking Second Street and a good reason to come into town for an evening out.
I am very disappointed that the city decided that Benoit’s petition with 950 names in support of his wine bar was invalid. I personally collected 60 names for the petition – they were all REAL people signing their names – without persuasion.
Why is a young local businessman with great plans, using local products and labour being faced with such roadblocks? I just hope Benoit perseveres.
I am ashamed of Revelstoke in its treatment of Benoit and his application for a wine bar.
I work at Mountain Goodness Natural Foods and everyone that I saw sign the petition at the store was a good, decent, hardworking citizen of Revelstoke.
Years ago I submitted a petition to city hall against a Pub across from an elementary school and you never doubted the signatures on that petition. Why are you treating this young man like he is some kind of criminal. I welcome Benoit and the many other young people and families that have moved here to make Revelstoke their home.
I remember the days when it was a hard drinking, fighting, high crime rate town and not the best place to live.
I love the new energy that has come to MY town, yes, MY town. I have lived here longer then any you, since 1954 other then a short stint away, so I know what I am talking about.
You are discriminating against a new citizen of our town and I am angry with each and everyone of you that voted against this application and will show it at the next civic election and you can be sure many others will as well.
If you have not figured it out, I support Benoit’s application for a wine bar.
City council should come to their senses and approve the application for a new wine bar.
Gerrie and Jan Alsemgeest
Dear Council Members:
Firstly, don’t your city staffers have enough on their plate without creating more work for them? What is Ms. Donato to do with what quite likely will become 950 emails bombarding her desk? The people have spoken…. They took the time to make a trip to town to sign a petition FOR the wine bar –which seemed to be perfectly acceptable when you cited the petition AGAINST it. I am surprised M. Doucet didn’t throw his hands up in the air and say forget it! Council should admit they made a mistake and acted too hastily and simply accept the second petition, as they did the first. They didn’t tell that group they had to send their opinions to City Hall… Why should another group have to jump through tedious and bureaucratic hoops?
And Mr. Bender’s position that: “Benoit’s application for a liquor license has not been turned down by the Provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, at least, not yet. What happened at council last Tuesday was a resolution for municipal endorsement failed to get enough votes to garner the city’s blessing. This means he has not been turned down for a license, yet, he just didn’t get Council’s support at that time. Granted, obtaining local government support for any license at any given time could certainly not hurt an applicant’s chances”
Is downright ignorant – sorry Steve. It is common knowledge that the Licensing Branch takes the municipality’s position first and foremost and understandably. If the City is saying they don’t want a bar, then the LCB figures that is the general consensus of the community.
Kayla Robinson’s Letter to the Editor said it very succinctly: “If the city votes against allowing Benoit to have a liquor license at 107 East 2nd Street there is little chance the Provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch will grant him a liquor license. They would review his file but if there seems to be no support from the community (i.e. what the city council represents) they would be obliged to reject his request and he would have to wait two years to apply again.”
Per my original Letter to the Editor dated March 26:
“….. I am proud to stand up and fight with him and all the other citizenry of Revelstoke who are parched for at least a choice of civilized venues where one can relax and enjoy a glass or two of fine wine without the noise and the drunkenness of the pub. And the idea of a small corner for some jazz or blues would be wonderful, if at all possible. I was lucky enough to be introduced to the fine guitar and vocal stylings of Wes Mackie at the Regent’s 112 last week and when we returned for another evening of fine entertainment, it was great to see the place was packed! It was very clear that there are a number of people in Revelstoke who would become regular customers at an establishment that offered fine wine and fine music! The town needs businesses like this! First people gripe about out–of–towners coming to town with new business, and now you gripe about a Revelstokian wanting to open a new business! A dignified, civilized business! One people of my age group could enjoy!
Council members please, PLEASE…. wake up! We only have two or three nice venues in town to enjoy. You have a slew of pubs. I too am confused as to what your rationale is….. Move forward – not backward! We can’t afford to lose businesses like Benoit’s. Please revisit your decision.”
Finally, I find it very ironic that almost simultaneously, as the Council is vetoing M.Doucet’s application, the ski hill announces they will be opening a wine bar, and there isn’t a minute of discussion about it at Council.
Once again, I urge council to wake up and smell the coffee. Your constituency has spoken – the people you have been elected to represent – and they WANT this wine bar! Do your duty and allow it. Without these hypocritical hoops to go through. Shame!
Being a self-employed individual I can’t imagine having to go through the hoops Mr. Doucet has had to go through to make a living and bring something to this town that he believes will be an asset! I, too, believe this would benefit our community, give it some class, offer a place for “mature adults” to hang out….wow, what a concept, eh?
I give my full support the Benoit Doucet’s wine bar and wish him all the luck in the future jumping through the REST of the hoops, because there WILL be more!
This note is in support of Benoit Doucet’s application to establish a wine bar in Revelstoke. I feel this establishment will be welcomed by both locals and visitors who are looking for a nice quiet night out or a before/after diner glass of wine. I can’t imagine why the application was deemed by some council members as another run-of-the-mill, beer slinging bar. Mr Doucet’s plans for this business have been very clear from the beginning. I only hope that those who are currently thinking of investing in our community, are not put off by the way this application has been received by City Council.
lastly, I wish this process of asking people to submit their opinions directly to City Hall had been initiated upon council being presented with the first petition of 110 signatures. Although a good process, it seems laughable considering the number of signatures collected by Mr Doucet in comparison. It just seems a little late. I will however, give council credit for re-examining their initial decision.
Good luck Benoit!
Dear City Staff and Councillors,
I would like to see the City endorse Mr. Doucet’s liquor license application.
As an individual that spends a lot of time in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver for the arts and entertainment, wine bar included, I was THRILLED to learn that Doucet is trying to accomplish the same in our own community!! A Wine Bar is NOT another BAR – it is a culteral – adult experience!!!
Benoit’s Wine Bar would be a welcome addition to the choices for an enjoyable evening out in Revelstoke and I am in full support of it going forward.
The Revelstoke Current article seems to indicate that a 950 signature petition held less validity than one with 110 signatures. If this is the case, I feel that it would be incumbent on City Council to explain to the community members (who elected them to make fair and informed decisions) why one petition is considered a valid supporting document while the other holds no credence at all.
Again, full support for Benoit’s Wine Bar.
Dear Ms Donato,
I think a Wine Bar would be a great asset for our city. It would be a nice change from the pubs, bars & lounges that are in our city now. I have no concerns when it comes to Mr Doucet’s application for a liquor primary license.
I hope this email complies with your requirements as outlined in the Revelstoke Current.
“This new “process” as bureaucrats like to call it demands that people send a written letter or an e-mail directly to the City before April 30, at which point municipal officials will report to Council, which will then mull over the responses and decide what to do.
If you’d like to see Council do the right thing and endorse his application for a liquor license please send your e-mail to Laurie Donato, the City’s manager of Development Services, in the Planning Department at: email@example.com. “ The Revelstoke Current April 6, 2010
I am writing in support of the wine bar proposed by Benoit Doucet.
Isn’t it discriminatory to not allow the wine bar? We have the American Macdonalds trash to litter the town, four Chinese restaurants, one Greek joint, one Japanese, even an English pub.
Yes, to the Frenchman’s wine bar.
Dear City Staff and City Councillors:
I whole-heartedly support Benoit Doucet’s application for a liquor primary licence and I hope that City Council will see fit to endorse it — once all the dust has settled.
There are hundreds of people in our community who clearly would patronize his establishment. Revelstoke has grown way beyond the beer-and-booze-only stage.
On another note: shame on Council for suggesting that hand-signed petitions have no validity. I can see where online petitions and form letters can — and should — be treated as suspect. But hand-signed petitions bearing the signers’ addresses and phone numbers? Those are verifiable.
Suggesting that such petitions are invalid because they are not controlled by a bureaucratic and political process is dangerous. In a democracy the people should be setting the rules: not the bureaucrats and politicians.
David F. Rooney
The Revelstoke Current