Benoit gets his wine bar!

By David F. Rooney

It’s sometimes said that the third time is the charm and that was certainly the case on  Tuesday afternoon when City Council, deliberating for the third time, finally decided to endorse Benoit Doucet’s application for a liquor primary licence to operate a wine bar.

“I was especially happy with the level of support I received from the citizens of Revelstoke,” he said after Council had made its decision.

That support was certainly overwhelming. City Hall received 220 letters from local residents in favour of his wine bar and only five against it. Antonietta Crisanti the woman who had led a 110-signature petition to stop the proposal back in late March, was present for the decision but made no comment.

Doucet said he bears no one any ill will and would indicated he’d be happy to invite the five people who opposed his proposal to the opening of his 60-seat wine bar. He has not yet set a date for an opening.

“We still have to finish the renovations so announcing an opening date would really work against me,” he said.

Doucet’s initial proposal was turned down by the City after it received Christante’s petition, even though municipal staff and the RCMP all said the wine bar would not present a problem for the neighbourhood. Doucet turned around and organized his petition which garnered a whopping 950 signatures from local residents. That forced Council to reconsider its earlier decision. It did so by claiming that neither petition would have any standing before it and asking staff to seek written comments from local residents only. By April 30 — the cutoff date for submitting written comments — 225 letters have been received.

Council’s endorsement does come at a price. Outdoor seating will be limited and Doucet can expect Council to closely monitor his operation, which will be open from 3 pm until midnight Sunday through Friday and 3 pm until 1 am on Saturdays.  As Councillor Phil Welock noted, liquor licences can be revoked.

That’s unlikely to happen. It was apparent from the comments of Mayor Raven and all five Councillors present at Tuesday’s meeting (Councillor Chris Johnston, a self-identified supporter of the wine bar, is on vacation) that they hope his business venture at 107 Second Street East will succeed.