EDITORIAL: Sampling request falls on deaf ears

Goldstream Station Market, moved into park by Langford, disallowed to take advantage of modern B.C. liquor rules

On Monday the operators of the Goldstream Station Market pleaded their case once again for the City of Langford to consider allowing vendors of wine, beer and spirits to offer small samples to market patrons.

Provincial liquor laws, changed last year, loosened up to allow for such marketing strategies, although strict guidelines remain in place to prevent overconsumption. Rules limit the size of samples to a half ounce, and patrons may not drink those samples away from the front of the vendor’s booth. It seems the B.C. Liquor Control and Licensing Branch has thought this through and considered all the potential negative outcomes, such as drinking and driving, before changing the rules.

The Luxton Station Market Society was turned down again, despite giving compelling reasons as to why such a change could work to broaden the market’s offerings and provide a better service to people in the community.

An argument was made that the park was designed for families and veterans, and that current bylaws state that drinking in public parks is not allowed. Both are correct.

But people don’t attend markets to get a buzz on, they go to experience, among other things, the best in locally grown and produced  products. These are very small samples that wouldn’t budge the needle on the breathalyzer.

Many markets around the region are not held in parks and may not be subject to drinking in parks bylaws. But if there are bad experiences to draw on from those that do take place in parks and allow sampling to be done, we haven’t heard about them.

Council was not being asked to change the rule Monday, they were only requested to allow city staff to do more research on the matter and come back with a recommendation one way or the other. With only four councillors in attendance –Lillian Szpak sat as acting mayor – one option might have been to table the request until a full contingent of councillors was on hand.

This market has been a tremendous success and a boon to Langford, and we hope this latest setback doesn’t spell the end of their asking for something the province says is OK.

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