Decision to close Coquitlam liquor stores contradicts LDB Service plan

August 18, 2006

August 15, 2006 

The decision by the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) to close two public liquor stores in Coquitlam and Burnaby as part of a plan to open a new Signature store on North Road violates the government’s own Service Plan and removes retail options for local residents, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union said today.

The 2006-07 Service Plan states that "BC Liquor Stores are improving efficiencies and services to customers by offering an enhanced shopping experience and improvements to operations and administration. A key facet of this is the consolidation of smaller government liquor stores into Signature Stores."

"The main argument used by the government to justify Signature Stores plan was the need to amalgamate small stores to remain competitive," said BCGEU president George Heyman. "However, in consolidating the Lougheed and Austin Road stores, the LDB will be closing the two single largest revenue generating stores in Burnaby and Coquitlam."

"Signature liquor stores provide better service through extended hours and greater product selection, but closing the area’s highest revenue stores simply does not fit the LDB’s own plan, and contradicts everything we were told by the employer."

The Burnaby Lougheed Plaza (9638 Cameron St.) and Coquitlam’s Austin Road (1020 Austin Rd.) locations are slated for closure to make way for a Signature store at North Road and Cameron Street in Burnaby.

In Vernon, the LDB is planning to close the downtown store (3101 Hwy #6), and the Vernon Square Store (4400 32nd St.) to open a new Signature store at the Village Green Mall on 48th Avenue, which will leave Vernon without a public liquor store in the downtown core.

"The government is continuing to close many more profitable liquor stores than they are opening, which affects our members’ access to work, and local community access to public liquor services," said Heyman. "Coquitlam residents in particular will be inconvenienced by these store closures, as they will be forced to travel farther to access a public liquor store, or be forced to shop at private liquor outlets."

Heyman pointed out that public liquor stores provide greater product selection, lower prices, and socially responsible control of liquor sales, compared to private liquor outlets. A study by the Consumers Association of Canada released on March 16, 2006 concluded that private liquor outlets charge up to 35 per cent more for the same products than public outlets, despite receiving a 13 per cent discount on product from the BC Liberal government.

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For more information, contact Chris Bradshaw at 604-209-4129

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