Boozy new legislation not appealing to Kelowna theatre manager

Anyone interested in imbibing in Central Okanagan movie theatres should ready themselves for a snifter of disappointment.

Despite the provincial government's announcement they're reversing a long-time ban on booze at the movies, local facilities have neither the will or the way to enact the political shift.

"The legislation is quite restrictive, so it's not something we could properly do," said Rick Davis, of Capitol Theatre, the West Kelowna contribution to the Landmark chain which owns most the theatres across the Valley.

Multiplex theatres can now apply for a licence to serve alcohol in adult-only auditoriums and adjacent lobbies. Single-screen and live theatres will now be allowed to apply for a licence to serve alcohol in lobbies if minors are present, and in auditoriums if it’s an adult-only event.

"That really restricts us, especially where we're serving communities that serve all ages," said Davis. "It's for premium auditoriums that have full service, including food. It's not something we would do."

It would also stem the flow of a good portion of their employment base. Anyone who was to work at the theatres, if they were to sell liquor, would have to be of serving age.

And, perhaps the biggest incentive to steer clear, said Davis, is the extra red tape that would accompany such an endeavour.

"Basically it would just mean another level of government we'd have to work with," he said. "Already we have to deal with Consumer Protection B.C. for ratings, then we'd have to deal with the liquor control branch, and pay extra fees. It's so much."

That said, red tape is something that any business is willing to get tangled in, if the payoff is high enough.

"There is demand, but it's not something I want in the theatre," he said. "It doesn't mean it's not going to happen, there's always a possibility."

The new regulations have been hailed as a solution to the controversy raised when some single screen theatres sought liquor licences, so they could sell alcohol at live events.

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