Despite repeated pleas to Township council, the Shark Club Liquor Store won’t be given permission to move to a new location in Walnut Grove.
Scott Thomson of Northland Properties and owner of Shark Club Liquor Store — located at 20169 88 Ave., — spoke to Township council last Monday, Feb. 19, to ask them to reconsider rezoning to allow his store to move to the Thunderbird Shopping Centre.
Coun. Kim Richter asked council to reconsider the rezoning after council had originally voted it down in December. Council must approve the liquor licence if the store is to move locations. The vote resulted in a 4-4 tie, which means the request failed.
No one on council spoke to the matter. Mayor Jack Froese, councillors Charlie Fox, Blaire Whitmarsh and Angie Quaale were opposed to the move.
“Current liquor store laws are complex, where it can lead to disputes between landlord and tenant,” said Thomson who made his case to council before the vote.
“This is not a situation we want to be in. Currently, our business is breaking even. We want to relocate to Thunderbird Centre with a focus on B.C. wines. Walnut Grove residents would welcome to be able to cross-shop at one location,” he said.
“Being located beside Oak & Thorne has been difficult because our customers have nowhere to park. There was a bar fight in front of Oak & Thorne and there was blood all over our entrance on Saturday night,” he said.
Langley RCMP confirm that there have been fights outside the Oak & Thorne Neighbourhood Public House. The Joseph Richard Group restaurant relocated to the former Shark Club in January from another location along 88 Avenue in Walnut Grove.
When police were called there on Feb. 10, they could see blood on the pavement but no one who would acknowledge being involved in any altercations, said Cpl. Holly Largy. Police were called back to the restaurant later in the night where a fight was taking place and some participants were taken to jail for intoxication, she said.
A representative of Joseph Richard Group said the safety of its guests, staff and nearby businesses are its highest priority.
“To that end, we work with the RCMP and our security teams to prevent such behaviour. With that in mind, we have expanded our security for our late night events to help further alleviate any challenges and to help patrol the lot,” said JRG in a statement to the Times. The same security will be monitoring parking to make sure their patrons are using the stalls reserved for Oak & Thorne patrons, said JRG.
Bert Hick of Rising Tide Consultants spoke to council as well before the vote to let them know that zoning of Thunderbird Centre does permit a liquor store. There could be a focus on B.C. wines, he said. A wine store was previously located at Thunderbird Centre, but has since moved to West Vancouver.
Thomson said revenue at his store has steadily declined since the Shark Club closed.
He requested the move in December but was turned down by council. At that time, the wine store was located at Thunderbird.