Residents Oppose Liquor Store for Burnaby Shopping Centre
Applicant refutes residents' fears of crime connection
Reported by Ana Rose Walkey
Residents of the Crest area in Burnaby are speaking out against a proposal to open a private liquor store in their neighbourhood because they say it will increase crime and be a danger to children.
William Conolly, a resident for 46 years, is leading the campaign against the liquor store proposed for the Crest shopping centre on 10th Avenue, near the Burnaby-New Westminster border.
“We are very proud of our neighbourhood and we enjoy the quietness, we don’t mind driving down to [another] liquor store,” said Conolly, who delivered a petition to city council in January with more than 50 signatures of residents opposed to the rezoning application for the store. “We believe a liquor store in close proximity to schools and parks expose the youth to the negative effects of alcohol.”
Increased crime a complaint
Jisbender Kooner of Kooner Hospitality Group, the owner of Hop & Vine Liquor store on Burnwood Drive, applied to the city to have its existing retail licence transferred to the Crest shopping centre.
Conolly argued that small, private liquor stores are “easy marks for theft” because they do not have security features in place that larger liquor stores do. He, however, didn’t provide any evidence to show whether the Burnwood Drive store was targeted by criminals.
A Burnaby RCMP public safety report from October and November 2017 showed a small robbery “crime hotspot” near the Hop & Vine Liquor store’s current location, which is close to the Burnaby Mountain Golf Course.
A Burnaby RCMP media relations officer said “crime hotspots” are based upon information compiled by crime analysts about all types of crime, including burglaries, auto theft and robbery.
City council awaiting report
John McNally of John McNally Designers Inc. drew up the plans for the proposed store and submitted them with the rezoning application. McNally said he doesn’t think the new store will be a magnet for crime.
“RCMP hot spot maps are reflective of all of their calls to attend in an area—traffic, domestic, public disturbance and so on,” he said. “So it’s hard to blame a single vendor for the crime. It’s just that neighbourhood in general, and not particularly this liquor store, that generates RCMP calls to attend.”
Added McNally: “Are we supposing that petty criminals in this store’s current location are going to go out of their way to get to the Crest location to shoplift? I don’t think so, it’s too far, they’d have to work at that…a contrary concept.”
The Voice contacted Coun. Colleen Jordan but she said in an email that she couldn’t comment on the application because council was waiting for a staff report in response to questions raised at the public hearing.
“When the report comes back, and council deals with that information, a second reading of the bylaw….then we are permitted to speak to the topic,” Jordan said.